Given a choice between different types of oil, most of us wouldn’t hesitate to choose olive oil. What is it about olive oil that makes it the first thing we turn to as an accompaniment to any dish, or even to enjoy on its own with nothing more than a piece of bread to dip into it? In addition to its aroma and unbeatable taste, which varies according to the variety of olive used to produce it, many of us opt for olive oil thanks to the numerous benefits it offers. As a new take on an old saying: “Olive oil each day keeps the doctor away”. But how exactly does it do that? There are certainly many more health benefits of olive oil out there to discover, but for the time being, let’s look at some of the ones that we already know about …
- It strengthens the immune system. Including olive oil as part of our regular diet helps boost the number of cells that form part of our defence system. Thanks to the antioxidants and other essential nutrients found in olive oil, it helps to bolster the immune system and in turn fight against potential diseases and viruses.
- It controls cholesterol. A number of different studies have shown that olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats—those that raise levels of “good” cholesterol and reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol, thus helping to prevent all manner of cardiovascular diseases.
- It lowers blood pressure. Just three spoonfuls of olive oil a day can help to bring down high blood pressure. Specialists confirm that the healthy fats contained in olive oil can help to reduce both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
- It’s good for our digestive system. Olive oil forms a film around the stomach and duodenum preventing ulcers from forming. It facilitates different digestive functions, helping to improve digestion and reduce acid secretion.
- It possesses anti-carcinogenic properties. One of the most interesting and beneficial features of olive oil is that it contains antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols and squalene, the four key elements that give olive oil its cancer-fighting properties. But according to an article that appeared in Muy Interesante magazine, one ingredient in particular stands out from the rest: “the ingredient in question is “oleocanthal”, a natural organic compound found in extra-virgin olive oil and responsible for the oil’s unique, slightly peppery taste. Experts have discovered that oleocanthal ruptures cancer cells' lysosomes, which store the cell's waste products, releasing enzymes that kill the cell, but without damaging healthy cells. And the process is incredibly quick: between 30 minutes and an hour.”
- It helps prevent diabetes. A study carried out by Diabetes Care revealed that any diet containing olive oil can cut the risk of Type 2 diabetes by up to 50% due to the healthy fats it contains, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels and insulin production.
Do you really need any more reasons to enjoy olive oil?