The benefits of olive oil have been recognized throughout time, not only for its pleasing taste, but for the quality health benefits that it offers. Throughout the Mediterranean, it is a staple in most households for its pleasing taste and for its astonishing health benefits. Considered the healthiest of all edible oils, olive oil is finally increasing in popularity in America, as well.
Nutritional Benefits of Olive Oil
The benefits of olive oil to good health stem from the nutritional benefits it offers, such as:
- Vitamin E
- Polyphenolic phytonutrients (which adds to its rich antioxidant benefit)
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Omega 6 fatty acids
Olive Oil Health Benefits
The health benefits of olive oil make it the most desirable among all edible oils. Not only is it light, easy to digest and great tasting, but olive oil health research supports that it can actually improve health over time.
Diets that are high in fat are commonly associated with illnesses like diabetes, cancer, arthritis and atherosclerosis. However, research indicates that there are some parts of the world, such as the Mediterranean, where people consume high fat diets, yet these conditions are not prevalent. It is believed that it is the high consumption of olive oil, which makes a tremendous difference. In fact, olive oil has the exact opposite effect in that it helps with the following diseases and conditions:
- Protects DNA from damaging free radicals
- Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease
- Helps lower cholesterol (when olive oil is used instead of other highly saturated fats)
- Lowers blood pressure
- Useful as an anti-inflammatory
- Helps reduce the risk of developing breast cancer
- Helps control blood sugar
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Helps prevent the development of belly fat
- Help ease the symptoms of arthritis
- Helps prevent osteoporosis
- Improves gastrointestinal health
- Supports healthy weight loss
- Lowers the risk of developing colon cancer
In many of the above noted health benefits, olive oil is effective when used instead of unhealthy fats, such as butter, corn oil and other oils commonly used in cooking and eating.
The benefits of olive oil extend beyond super nutritional benefits, however. Among the many other uses for olive oil, skin care and hair care are at the top of the list. A beauty secret that has been well regarded for centuries in Mediterranean cultures is that the antioxidant properties, as well as the vitamin E, in olive oil can actually help reduce the signs of aging in the skin while keeping it well moisturized and healthy.
Other beauty benefits of olive oil health include:
- Helping to retain the skin’s elasticity
- Adds a natural shine to hair
- Helps soften brittle fingernails
- Helps to soften nail cuticles
- Helps heal dry, cracked skin
Olive oil is not intended as a cooking oil, but as an oil to be added to foods after they have been cooked or used as a dressing or in a dipping sauce.
Olive oil is considered safe to use by all adults. However, because of deceptive labeling practices, some olive oil containers may contain little to no actual olive oil. Therefore, it is important that consumers purchase a reputable brand of olive oil in order to avoid health hazards associated with the consumption of other oils.
The benefits of olive oil have been celebrated from ancient civilizations until now because of its great taste. However, those who study olive oil health claims now know that it is far more than a great tasting food choice, but that it can actually assist in good health maintenance.