Health Benefits

The health benefits of olive oil are extensive with new positive attributes being discovered all the time. One prominent cardiologist recommends at least two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day to enjoy the many ways olive oil can be beneficial to your health and well-being. In addition to bolstering the immune system and helping to protect against viruses, olive oil has also been found to be effective in fighting against diseases such as:

The health benefits of olive oil : Blood Pressure

Recent studies indicate that regular consumption of olive oil can help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The health benefits of olive oil : Cancer

Various components of olive oil have been studied for their possible effects on cancer.

The health benefits of olive oil : Breast Cancer

Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil protects against breast cancer.

The health benefits of olive oil : Skin Cancer

Olive oil found to help prevent skin cancer.

The health benefits of olive oil : Depression

Olive oil may protect from depression.

The health benefits of olive oil : Diabetes

It helps lower “bad” low-density lipoproteins while improving blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity.

The health benefits of olive oil : Type 2 Diabetes

Olive Oil Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The health benefits of olive oil : Heart Disease

Olive oil helps lower levels of blood cholesterol leading to heart disease.

The health benefits of olive oil : Keeps the Heart Young

A diet rich in olive oil may be able to slow down the aging of the heart.

The health benefits of olive oil : Metabolic Syndrome

The Mediterranean diet and Metabolic Syndrome

The health benefits of olive oil : Obesity

Although high in calories, olive oil has shown to help reduce levels of obesity.

The health benefits of olive oil : Osteoporosis

A high consumption of olive oil appears to improve bone mineralization and calcification.

The health benefits of olive oil : Oxidative Stress

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E…

The health benefits of olive oil : Rheumatoid Arthritis

Although the reasons are still not fully clear, recent studies have proved that people with diets containing high levels of olive oil are less…

The health benefits of olive oil : Strokes

According to a study from France, older individuals who consume olive oil daily may be able to protect themselves from a stroke.

The health benefits of olive oil : Blood Pressure

Recent studies indicate that regular consumption of olive oil can help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Olive oil contains biophenols, which suppress the oxidization of bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This has been shown to play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease.

High levels of LDL in the blood amplify oxidative stress which hardens the arterial walls (called atherosclerosis). The biophenols in olives reduce blood pressure, therefore reducing the development of arterial plaque as well.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Cancer

Various components of olive oil have been studied for their possible effects on cancer, as they contain an abundance of phenolic antioxidants. They also contain the anti-cancer compounds acteosides, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and phenyl propionic acids. This combined with a Mediterranean diet has been proven to help stop cancer.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Western countries. Research carried out with animal models demonstrate that a diet rich in fats is directly related to the incidence of cancer. Some types of fats, however, can play a protective role against the development of these tumours. Such is the case of extra virgin olive oil. It is rich in oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, and containing several bioactive compounds such as antioxidants.

A moderate and regular intake of extra virgin olive oil – characteristic of the Mediterranean diet – is associated with low incidences of specific types of cancer, including breast cancer. It also plays a protective role against coronary diseases and other health problems.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Skin Cancer

A study conducted by Dr Niva Shapira from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Bob Kuklinski of Rockstock University in Germany found that olive oil, along with other components of a Mediterranean diet, may contribute to the prevention of malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, may be slowed down by consumption of olive oil, which is rich in antioxidants.

The research showed that the body develops a resistance to the damaging rays of the sun due to carotenoids. Carotenoids are the colour pigments found in fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, tomatoes, pumpkins and carrots. Olive oil has also been found to protect the skin against the damaging effects of UV rays.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Depression

Research has shown that cardiovascular disease and depression may share some common mechanisms related to diet. Researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria discovered that a higher intake of olive oil and polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish and vegetable oils was associated with a lower risk of depression.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Diabetes

It has been demonstrated that a diet that is rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately rich in carbohydrates and soluble fibre from fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains is the most effective approach for diabetics. It helps lower “bad” low-density lipoproteins while improving blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Type 2 Diabetes

Researchers have found that tyrosol, found in olive oil, protected against beta-cell ER stress-induced cell death and acted as a therapeutic agent for improving insulin resistance and diabetes.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Heart Disease

Olive oil helps lower levels of blood cholesterol leading to heart disease.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Keeps The Heart Young

A diet rich in olive oil may be able to slow down the aging of the heart. It is a known fact that as we grow older the heart also goes through a normal aging process. The arteries may not function as well as they did and this can lead to a number of health problems. However, Spanish researchers discovered that one of the many health benefits of olive oil – a diet rich in olive oil or other monounsaturated fats -could improve the arterial function of elderly individuals.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the effect of a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil with that of a low fat high carbohydrate diet and a diet rich in saturated fats. It concluded that the diet rich in olive oil resulted in the reduction of endothelial damage and dysfunction.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Metabolic Syndrome

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been cited in numerous studies. With a new large study confirming that it protects from metabolic syndrome we have yet another reason to adopt this style of eating. Dr Antonis Pothoulakis, an interventional cardiologist at the Iasis Clinic in Chania, Crete claimed that the metabolic syndrome is a combination of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and high blood sugar. “Metabolic syndrome is connected to the obesity epidemic of our time. A big belly poisons our metabolism and a poisoned metabolism can result in type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, or sudden death.”

The new study included data from almost 535,000 people. It concluded that a Mediterranean style diet, which includes consumption of monounsaturated fats mainly in the form of olive oil, daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, and low-fat dairy products, weekly consumption of fish, poultry, legumes, and a relatively low consumption of red meat, may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Obesity

Although high in calories, olive oil has shown to help reduce levels of obesity.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Osteoporosis

A high consumption of olive oil appears to improve bone mineralization and calcification. It helps calcium absorption and so plays an important role in aiding sufferers and in preventing the onset of Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass, which in turn causes the architecture of bone tissue to become fragile. This can then increase the possibly of fractures, making even the slightest of knocks potentially fatal for sufferers.

The disease is recognized as being particularly prevalent among postmenopausal women for whom a decrease in the production of oestrogen then weakens bone structures. It most commonly affects the ribs, wrists, and hips. For this study, scientists were particularly interested in how a supplementation of olive oil could be used to help women in this category.

Tests were carried out on rats showing comparable conditions to female human menopause, with one group being treated orally with olive oil. At the end of the experiment, blood samples were collected and tested for levels of calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), malondialdehyde (MDA), and nitrates.

The results found that the rats not treated with olive oil showed a significant decrease in calcium levels and a significant increase in plasma ALP, MDA, and nitrates levels. Olive oil supplementation proved to be beneficial and was found to both attenuate these changes and to positively affect the thickness of bones.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Oxidative Stress

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E, long thought to minimise cancer risk. Among plant oils, olive oil is the highest in monounsaturated fat as it doesn’t oxidize in the body. It is, however, low in polyunsaturated fat, the kind that does oxidize.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Rheumatoid Arthritis

Although the reasons are still not fully clear, recent studies have proved that people with diets containing high levels of olive oil are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

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The health benefits of olive oil : Strokes

According to a study from France, older individuals who consume olive oil daily may be able to protect themselves from a stroke. The study which is part of the Three-City Study, an ongoing multi-centre study of vascular risk factors for dementia, was published in the online issue of Neurology.

Researchers gathered information from the medical records of 7,625 individuals over the age of 65 from three cities in France: Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier. None of the participants had a history of stroke.  The individuals  were categorised into three groups based on their olive oil consumption. The researchers noted that the participants used mostly extra virgin olive oil, as that is what is usually available in France.

After 5 years there were 148 strokes. The results showed that the “intensive” users of olive oil –  those that used it for both cooking and dressings – had a 41 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those that did not use olive oil at all. These results were noted even after considering weight, diet, physical activity and other risk factors.

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