11 Surprising Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In addition to being highly appreciated in gastronomy due to its mild flavor, extra virgin olive oil also has many health properties.
Hence the interest generated by it as it continues to be used for a wide variety of purposes. In addition to being an ingredient in many recipes, it’s also found applications in cosmetics. It’s a common ingredient in the production of soaps, styling creams, moisturizing shampoos and cream baths.
So, it isn’t surprising for it to continue being the subject of research. Are you still not taking advantage of the health benefits of adding extra virgin olive oil to your diet? Here are 11 important reasons why you should.
The health properties of extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is so called because no other product is added in its processing. That is to say, it has neither colorants nor preservatives that alter its flavor, properties, or purity.
Although it’s almost 100 percent fat, this is mainly monounsaturated and unsaturated. Thus, it isn’t harmful to your health, and doesn’t contribute to the increase of cholesterol.
Furthermore, it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which aren’t produced by your body, as well as polyphenols and vitamin E. It also contains a compound known as oleocanthal, which is only present in extra virgin olive oil.
The health benefits of extra-virgin olive oil
All of the aforementioned substances are generally good for your health, including the reduction of the chances of developing coronary heart disease and the prevention of cardiovascular problems. Let’s take a closer look at the various health benefits of extra virgin olive oil.
1. Weight loss
Extra virgin olive oil can really help people who are trying to lose weight. This is because it helps you feel fuller and contains healthy fats that can stimulate weight loss. However, you must consumed in moderation as it can have a laxative effect.
Of course, if you want to improve your diet and lose weight in a healthy way, you must go to an endocrinologist or nutritionist who can tell you what’s best for you.
According to a study published in 2018: “a diet enriched with olive oil followed for at least three months can decrease weight, waist circumference and BMI (body mass index), in individuals without previous cardiovascular events.”
Check out these 5 Olive Oil Treatments for Your Skin
2. Relieves aches and pains
Due to its oleocanthal contents, olive oil has an anti-inflammatory action that can help reduce pain in the joints and muscles.
According to some, a massage with a little of this oil can help relieve pain and swelling of a localized part of the body. However, to obtain such a benefit, you must eat olive oil within a healthy diet and, of course, within the framework of an active lifestyle.
3. Prevents mental decline
Due to its high contents of healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil, especially as part of the Mediterranean diet, could help delay or prevent the mental decline related to mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s. However, the studies aren’t conclusive yet.
4. It has anti-cancer properties
A recent study determined that further research in human subjects is needed and researchers hypothesize that olive oil consumption could reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
This important effect could be linked to its high oleic acid contents, which is the main fat in olive oil.
5. Olive oil is a good ally against diabetes
A study published in Diabetes Care magazine revealed that any Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil is able to reduce cases of type II diabetes by up to 50%.
This is because olive oil contains healthy fats that can help regulate blood sugar levels and insulin production.
6. Strengthens the immune system
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and other essential nutrients that can help boost the activity of your immune system. For this reason, some people use it regularly to maintain (or improve, as the case may be) their health. Of course, always within the framework of a healthy diet, otherwise it isn’t possible to benefit from it.
It’s interesting to know that there’s evidence that the function of some types of white blood cells, such as T lymphocytes, can be enhanced by the consumption of this food.
Read more: 9 Foods That Strengthen Your Immune System
7. Reduces blood pressure
Just three tablespoons of olive oil a day can help you reduce your high blood pressure. This is because the healthy fats in olive oil can help reduce diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels.
8. Controls cholesterol
Some say that olive oil is also great for managing cholesterol and eliminating bad cholesterol from the body.
This is because the monounsaturated fats it contains increase the levels of good cholesterol and moderate those of bad cholesterol.
9. Ulcer treatment
A study confirms that extra virgin olive oil is a safe product that can help reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers.
10. Hair care
The healthy fats and nutrients in olive oil can also improve (and maintain) the health of the hair. For this reason, various products (shampoos, styling creams, etc.) contain it. Fortunately, it’s provenly effective.
In addition to consuming extra virgin olive oil as part of a healthy diet, some people apply homemade masks made with this food to nourish, soften and revitalize their hair.
11. Extra virgin olive oil is a natural skin moisturizer
Some say that one of the best natural skin moisturizers is olive oil. Thus, those who apply olive oil to their skin say that it deeply nourishes and softens it, without promoting sebum production and dirt accumulation. Of course, they apply the oil for a certain period of time and then rinse it off. They do not leave it on all day.
Keep in mind that each skin type is different, so while olive oil may be very beneficial in some cases, in others, it’s best to consult a dermatologist first.
How to use and store extra virgin olive oil
It’s important to note that it’s preferable to use raw olive oil, for example to dress salads, drizzle on toast, or enhance the flavor of a sauce.
However, you can also heat it as its critical or smoke point is 410°F. Thus, it doesn’t lose its properties as easily as other oils.
Additionally, note that in order to better preserve such properties, you must keep it in an airtight container, preferably made of opaque glass, at a temperature not exceeding 68°F, and to store it in a closed dark place.
The versatile extra virgin olive oil
As you can see, extra virgin olive oil has many uses given its natural potential. We recommend considering it if you haven’t yet integrated it into your diet. This is because it could benefit you in many ways.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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