Olive oil is one of the most hyped about oils on the market today. The oil is acclaimed for its versatility because it can be applied in many different ways, ranging from shaving to cleaning hands to polishing furniture. However, by simply considering these uses, we haven’t even scratched the surface of what olive oil is able to do with our health. Read on to explore more of the amazing benefits of olive oil. You may find yourself surprised by some of them:
1. It reduces the risk of diabetes
Olive oil is credited with effectively protecting us from diabetes. According to Harvard School of Public Health, the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in olive oil can reduce the risk of diabetes by 50%. Although low fat diets are traditionally recommended to combat diabetes, the result shows that it is the type of fat rather than the amount of fat that matters.
Chronic inflammation is believed to be the root cause of diabetes. Consuming more olive oil which is an exceptional anti-inflammatory agent can help. Substances like oleic acid and oleocanthal in olive oil can reduce the expression of genes and proteins that mediate inflammation.
2. It saves you from strokes
A study by the University of Bordeaux collected data from three groups of subjects aged over 65 and surprisingly found that the elderly who used olive oil for cooking and salad dressing more often had 41% lower risk of suffering from strokes. The researchers believe that olive oil is effective in dissolving unwanted blood clots in vessels, a key feature causing strokes.
3. It keeps your heart young
It is commonly known that the functions of our hearts and arteries degenerate when we age. It seems inevitable that we may suffer from some heart diseases when we grow old. Don’t be too pessimistic first! A Spanish study published in the British Medical Journal found that olive oil helps lower our blood pressure and protect our hearts from the damage of bad cholesterol. If you want to keep being healthy, you need to stock up on olive oil.
4. It strengthens your bones
A study by Madrid University found that men with the habit of consuming Mediterranean diets which are rich in olive oil had stronger bones. It was discovered that their blood had more osteocalcin, an important protein that contribute to healthy bone formation.
Another research studying osteoporosis showed a similar result. Osteoporosis is a postmenopausal disease characterized by decreased bone density. The sufferers are more likely to have bone fractures. The animal test carried out by the researchers found that rats not treated with olive oil had much lower level of calcium, which shows that olive oil is a great source of calcium that helps strengthen bones. Doctors even recommend cooking nuts, seeds and beans with olive oil to optimize the effect!
5. It protects you from depression
Usually, we associate diets with our physical health but not mental health. But a Spanish study found that our consumption of fat largely determines the possibility that we suffer from mental illness. It said people who consume trans fat often have 48% higher risk of being susceptible to depression. The researchers suggested that olive oil can trigger higher level of serotonin, a brain chemical that serves as an antidepressant. So a high intake of olive oil can protect us from the attack of depression.
6. It helps prevent skin cancer
While using sunscreen remains the most reliable way shielding us from harmful UV rays, a recent study found that consuming olive oil reduces the risk of malignant melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer.
The research result highlighted that much fewer residents of the Mediterranean countries suffer from skin cancers than Australians. Mediterranean diet with the frequent use of olive oil is found to be the key to this significant difference. Substances like oleic acid and vitamin E in olive oil are highly resistant to the oxidation caused by strong sunlight, and so they can protect our skin.
7. It helps prevent breast cancer
Regular ingestion of olive oil can reduce the incidence of breast cancer. A Saudi Arabian study found that oleuropein in olive oil has anti-breast cancer properties. A study by Autonomous University in Barcelona even found that the monounsaturated fat and antioxidants in olive oil can suppress the growth of tumors in general.
8. It reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the buildup of the protein beta amyloid in our brains. According to a study published in Scientific American, the animal test conducted has proved that oleocanthal in olive oil helps remove the protein and has the potential to improve memory and learning ability of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Also, olive oil polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant, is found to be effective in reversing damage of the ageing process to our brains and delaying the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease.
9. It boosts your brain power
A study by Columbia University made a comparison between individuals who consumed olive oil often and those who never used olive oil in their cooking. The researchers surprisingly found that the ones who consumed olive oil in Mediterranean diets have more gray and white matters in their brains. That means consuming olive oil does not only make you healthier but smarter! Amazing, right?
10. It makes you more attractive
Olive oil contains a wealth of compounds that keep our hair healthy. While vitamin E reduces hair loss, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins can boost hair growth. By consuming olive oil, you don’t need to worry about any problems concerning your hair. What’s more, you can even enjoy having glowing skin because olive oil is a good moisturizer in itself and has strong anti-ageing properties.
Featured photo credit: DUSAN ZIDAR via shutterstock.com