7 Wellness Benefits of Olive Oil to Explore

Scientific ways that olive oil is incredibly good for you.

Olives and olive oil.

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One of the healthiest foods on Earth is olive oil. There are various types but they are all made from crushing whole olives through a variety of methods. There are three grades of olive oil: refined, virgin, and extra virgin. Extra virgin oil is the least processed and considered the healthiest type but all of them are incredibly good for you.

Olives have been grown in the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years and comprise a large portion of the food consumed in that part of the world. Olive oil features heavily in the popular Mediterranean diet, reported National Geographic.

Olive oil is the all around top healthy fat you can consume. In fact, no food can impact your health in as many scientifically proven benefits as adding olive oil can. Here are seven reasons to add olive oil to your diet.

Rich in monounsaturated fats  
Olive oil contains 11 percent polyunsaturated fats including omega-6 and omega-3  fatty acids, according to Healthline. Your body needs omega-3 to help keep your major systems functioning. But the predominant fatty acid, oleic acid, actually makes up 73 percent of the oils content. This helps to lower LDL – the bad – cholesterol so it is heart healthy.

Contains powerful antioxidants 
One of olive oil’s most important benefits is that it contains powerful antioxidants, like phenols, that can help regulate body functions and protect your cells from the free radicals that can cause oxidative stress or unstable molecules that can lead to chronic diseases. Olive oil also contains Vitamin K, an essential nutrient and Vitamin E.

Helps reduce inflammation 
The antioxidants in olive oil could aid in reducing inflammation. While inflammation naturally occurs from illness or injury, chronic inflammation is the leading cause of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and even some cancers. A 2010 study that looked at the effects of virgin olive oil in the framework of the Mediterranean diet found that the antioxidants can inhibit the proteins that cause inflammation. 

Promotes heart health 
Olive oil can help reduce the plaque buildup in your arteries, according to mindbodygreen. Another heart healthy benefit of olive oil is that it helps to reduce your blood pressure which is one of the leading causes of heart disease. A study published in Clinical Nutrition on elderly people who suffered from hypertension found that a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil reduced the need for blood pressure medication by 48 percent.

Good for your gut 
Another benefit of olive oil is that it helps to support gut health, stressed mindbodygreen. That’s because including olive oil in your diet may help to reduce disease-causing bad bacteria as well as stimulate the growth of good bacteria in your gut. This could strengthen your gut lining and may protect against colon cancer.

Contains antibacterial properties 
Olive oil contains antibacterial properties that can inhibit or kill harmful bacteria, according to Healthline. It is very effective against the type of bacteria that could cause peptic ulcers and stomach cancer. A 2021 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that extra virgin olive oil is effective against eight strains of bacteria including three that are antibiotic resistant.

Could protect brain health 
Consuming olive oil can even protect against cognitive impairment, National Geographic reported. A clinical trial, published in Nutrients,  studied people with mild cognitive impairment who consumed extra virgin olive oil for six months showed significant improvements in clinical dementia rating scores and behavior. It has also been shown to reduce the accumulation of brain plaque in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

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