Part 6: WHY IS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL HEALTHY?
You have probably heard many times that olive oil is very good for you, but what is it EXACTLY in olive oil that makes it so healthy?
Only a good quality extra virgin olive oil can be beneficial for human health so it is the only oil being discussed here, referring to a wide range of reputable studies you can find online.
As I mentioned in previous posts, olive oil is the mechanically extracted liquid from the olive fruit.
It contains predominantly monounsaturated fatty acids, which are known for lowering the levels of the „bad“ cholesterol. This predominant fatty acid is called oleic acid, and makes up about 70% of the total oil content. It is also the stable fat that make olive oil resistant to high heat, making olive oil a great cooking choice.
Vitamins K and E can also be found in olive oil. Those are very good for your skin.
But what really is the winning card is that the fact that olive oil is full of antioxidants, or polyphenols (remember, the peppery feeling in your throat!) - biologically active compounds that have powerful effects; they fight inflammation and protect your blood cholesterol from oxidation, which helps lowering the risk of heart disease.
One of the polyphenols, called oleocanthal, has been shown to act similarly to ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug! (When you feel you are getting a throat infection, try sipping a small amount of extra virgin olive oil – it will help.)
Extensive studies have shown that consuming olive oil reduced risk of stroke and heart disease, by improving the lining of your blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.
Although it is a fat, which many would link to weight gain, it has favourable effects on body weight. Moderate intake may even aid weight loss! Moderate means 2 to 4 tablespoons a day.
The list goes on with studies suggesting that olive oil may fight Alzheimer’s disease, may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and have anti-cancer properties. It is beneficial for your stomach, fighting against bacteria that cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.
The bottom line is – extra virgin olive oil of good quality (not the one found in supermarkets) is incredibly healthy and incredibly versatile – you can include it in your diet in so many creative ways! Olive oil alone, of course, can’t make magic but it is a HUGE investment in your health, along with a balanced diet, lots of physical activity and a positive mindset. And luckily, it is oh, so yummy!!!