Olive oil is one of the oldest oils in history; it’s been a staple of the Mediterranean diet for at least 6,000 years. It’s also one of the healthiest oils, and consuming olive oil regularly carries a number of health benefits. Here are some of the reasons why you should make olive oil a bigger part of your diet.
Good for Your Heart
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils for your heart. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat; in fact, it contains over 75% monounsaturated fats, which is more than either almond, peanut or canola oils. These fats decrease your chances of developing heart disease by controlling “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, and raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which helps protect you from heart attacks.
Doctors recommend replacing canola and vegetable oils with olive oil to lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease and heart attacks. Consume at least two tablespoons of olive oil each day for maximum benefits to the heart.
Supports Your Immune System
Olive oil is rich in antioxidant nutrients, which help keep your immune system strong and can prevent some types of cancer. The antioxidants present in olive oil include carotenoids, vitamin E and chlorophyll. These antioxidants prevent the accumulation of free radicals in your body and help your immune system function to full capacity. They can protect against infection, disease and cancer, and they also fight the signs of aging. Olive oil also contains high levels of phytonutrients, which may help to protect you from disease.
Helps Control Blood Sugar
Including olive oil in your diet can help to control blood sugar levels, which is especially important for diabetics. Olive oil helps keep blood sugar levels within the normal range, and it also controls levels of triglycerides, which helps to offset the increased risk of heart disease present in diabetics.
Research has found that a high carbohydrate, low fat diet that contains olive oil can help improve insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics. Consuming olive oil also helps reduce the accumulation of belly fat, a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Olive oil helps stimulate your body to produce adiponectin, a hormone that helps your body metabolize sugar and fat without storing it on the belly, where it can contribute to insulin resistance.
Acts as an Anti-inflammatory
The monounsaturated fats present in olive oil help your body produce chemicals that can have an anti-inflammatory effect against conditions like asthma and arthritis. Olive oil can significantly improve the symptoms of asthma, allergies and arthritis.
One of the causes of bone loss conditions, such as osteoporosis and osteopenia, is chronic inflammation in the bone, and the polyphenols present in olive oil can help reduce this inflammation. Eating olive oil can even help patients regain bone density in a short period of time, by reducing the inflammation that can inhibit bone regrowth.