Olive Oil – Delicious and so, so healthy!
” After seven wonderful years enjoying the health benefits of a Mediterranean Diet whilst living in Southern Spain, it would be impossible for me not to include this amazing gift from the land in my list of top healthy foods. “ – Dr Tim
Legend has it that the olive tree was a gift from the goddess Athena to humanity. Homer referred to olive oil as liquid gold, and Thomas Jefferson proclaimed it the richest gift of heaven. For centuries, a gift of olive oil was a welcome treasure. Food-lovers have never entirely forgotten the delightful golden fluid, but in recent years, a new awareness of the benefits of olive oil has been born. Science has turned its investigative eye upon it in recent years, and numerous studies have only reinforced the notion that olive oil is an amazing substance with numerous 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 Cancer, Heart Disease, Oxidative Stress, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Obesity, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoporosis.
According to a new study in france, older individuals who consume olive oil daily may be able to protect themselves from strokes. The results showed that the “intensive” users of olive oil, those that used it for both cooking and dressings, had a 41% lower risk of stroke compared to those that did not use olive oil at all. The results were noted even after considering weight, diet, physical activity and other risk factors.
Olive Oil Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
A recent Spanish study showed that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by almost 50% compared to a low fat diet.
Reduces Diabetes by 50%
Traditionally a low fat diet has been prescribed to prevent various diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. While studies have shown that a high fat diet may increase the risk of certain diseases such as cancer and diabetes, it appears that it is the type of fat that counts rother than the amount of fat. We now know that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as the ones found in olives, nuts and seeds actually protects us from many of these chronic diseases.
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, in a recent study, Spanish researchers discovered that a diet rich in olive oil or other monounsaturated fats could improve the arterial function of elderly individuals.
Olive Oil Fight 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. In tests, olive oil supplementation proved to be beneficial and was found to both attenuate these changes and to positively affect the thickness of bones.
Olive Oil May Protect from Depression
It is common knowledge that olive oil and the Mediterranean diet confer a multitude of health benefits. But what about emotional health benefits? In Spain, over 12,000 volunteers were followed for 6 years. The resulting data revealed that volunteers that had a high intake of trans fats, a hydrogenated fat found mainly in processed foods, had up to 48 percent increased risk of depression compared to volunteers who did not consume these fats . In addition, the researchers 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. According to the researchers these findings suggest that cardiovascular disease and depression may share some common mechanisms related to diet.
Olive Oil Found to Help Prevent Skin Cancer
An study conducted in Israel and 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.
Helps to prevent skin malignancies
The research showed that the body develops a resistance to the damaging rays of the sun due to carotenoids. Carotenoids are the color 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.
The Mediterranean Diet and Metabolic Syndrome
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been cited in numerous studies, and now with a new large study confirming that it protects from metabolic syndrome, we have yet another reason to adopt this style of eating.
Metabolic Syndromeis 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. Obesity poisons our metabolism and a poisoned metabolism can result in type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, or sudden death.
A recent study included data from almost 535,000 people, with the conclusion 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, almost certainly reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Virgin Olive Oil Protects Against 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 tumors. Such is the case of virgin olive oil, rich in oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, and containing several bioactive compounds such as antioxidants. A moderate and regular intake of virgin olive oil, characteristic of the Mediterranean diet, is associated with low incidences of specific types of cancer, including breast cancer, as well as with having a protective role against coronary diseases and other health problems.
Original Article: The Olive Oil Times