By Victoria Loutas
Olive oil is a fundamental component in any Mediterranean diet. A salad dressing, a dip for bread of a marinate, you name it and us Greeks will put olive oil on it! What you may not know is that Greeks’ favourite oil has many health benefits! Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is considered one of the world’s most healthiest fats.
Rich in Healthy Monounsaturated Fats
Olive Oil is made from the fruit of olive trees and is considered to be the best kind of oil available. Only 14% of the oil extracted from olives is saturated fat, whereas 11% is polyunsaturated, which include omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The remaining fatty acid in olive oil is monounsaturated fat called oleic, which is said to reduce inflammation and also improve genes linked to cancer.
Contains large amounts of antioxidants
Olive oil has a highly nutritious makeup, as it includes high amounts of vitamins E and K. It is also full of rich antioxidants, which are all biologically active and can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Strong anti-inflammatory properties
Chronic inflammation is believed to be among the leading drivers of many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and arthritis. The high level of antioxidants and oleic fats within olive oil contribute to its strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Olive oil can prevent strokes
There has been considerable research undertaken to explore the relationship between olive oil and strokes. Several studies have revealed that people who consume olive oil have a much lower risk of stroke, the second biggest killer in developed countries.
Protects against heart disease
Multiple scientific studies have found recently that heart disease is less common in Mediterranean diets, in which olive oil is a key ingredient. Within any meal, olive oil works to release its core health benefits which protect against heart disease. This includes lowering inflammation, improving the lining of blood vessels and preventing excessive blood clotting. Research has also found that olive oil reduces the need for blood pressure medication by 48 percent.
Olive oil works to kill off harmful bacteria within the body. The many nutrients within olive oil effectively fights Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that lives in your stomach and can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. Studies found that olive oil fights off eight strains of this bacterium, eliminating infection in 10-40 percent of people.