There are many disagreements about fats in the diet. However, pretty much everyone agrees that olive oil is good for you. Here are health benefits of olive oil that are supported by scientific research.
1. Anti-Cancer Benefits
Olive oil is said to protect the human body against cancerous growth, especially bowel cancer. Medical research done at the prestigious Oxford University has shown positive signs that the acidic content of olive oil can prevent the commencement of rectum and bowel cancer. In the UK, bowel cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer, and kills almost twenty thousand citizens every year.
Recent research study suggests that hydroxytyrosol, a major component of olive oil may help prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
2. Cardiovascular Benefits
Despite the drama surrounding the use of fats and oils, these things are an essential part of a balanced eating plan. The key is to choose your fats wisely. Olive oil is one of the healthiest types of fat around. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil has been shown to control LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. This can potentially lower your risk of heart disease.
When you digest your food, free radicals that are naturally produced by the body can damage the cells. Free radicals from environmental factors such as dust, smog, cigarette smoke and pesticides don’t help the situation. The antioxidants contained in olive oil can help fight off and repair some of the damage that free radicals can cause.
To get the best heart-healthy results from olive oil, the FDA recommends eating two tablespoons daily. You can easily get this amount in your diet by following the examples of top chefs and using it in your favorite foods.
3. Bone Health Benefits
Support of overall bone health is another promising area of olive oil research. While most of the initial study in this area has been conducted on laboratory animals, better blood levels of calcium have been repeatedly associated with olive oil intake. In addition, at least two polyphenols in olive oil—tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol—have been shown to increase bone formation in rats. A recent group of researchers has also suggested that olive oil may eventually prove to have special bone benefits for post-menopausal women, since they found improved blood markers of overall bone health in female rats who had been fed olive oil after having their ovaries removed. Taken as a group, the above studies suggest that bone health benefits may eventually be viewed as an important aspect of olive oil intake.
4. Relieves Pain
Extra virgin olive oil contains a substance called oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory agents, meaning olive oil is like a natural Ibuprofen. Research increasingly suggests inflammation impacts a number of chronic diseases, so olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties grow more compelling all the time.
5. Weight Loss Benefits
Carrying too much weight is a condition that goes hand-in-hand with high levels of cholesterol, heart disease, and other ailments. But there’s good news: Merely switching to monounsaturated fats, which also work against those other diseases, will in itself help you lose a few pounds. Add a regular regimen of exercise and you’re well on your way to your proper wieght.
6. Strengthens Immune System
Loaded with antioxidants – vital for strengthening and protecting your immune system – extra virgin olive oil may help you become more resistant to infection. This wide range of important antioxidants isn’t found in other oils.
7. Skin and Hair Benefits
Extra virgin olive oil is composed of more than 80 percent oleic acid. This substance easily penetrates the skin, and allows the oil to heal damage, reduce wrinkles and improve texture.
If you struggle with dry, brittle hair, keeping a bottle of olive oil handy can help. A weekly deep conditioner of olive oil can be used in the place of products that contain silicone ingredients to make the hair more manageable. Shampoos that contain sulfates will strip the moisture out of your hair and make it look drab and lifeless. Using olive oil in the place of your regular commercial conditioners can moisturize the hair and give it a healthy sheen.
8. Sexual Life Benefits of Olive Oil
No wonder the greatest lover in history was Italian: extra virgin olive oil may even improve your sex life. Casanova must have had excellent circulation for all those conquests; olive oil boosts circulation to all areas of the body, including those hard to reach erogenous zones.
9. Olive Oil Moisturizes Your Body
Packed with good fats and nutrients, a little bit of olive oil soothes crusty cuticles, relieves dry skin, fights frizzy hair, and can even fill in for shaving cream in a pinch.
10. Helps Stay Healthier into Old Age
The Mediterranean Diet has been proven to be one of the healthiest in the world. Some consider it the healthiest. Olive oil has always been an integral part of the Mediterranean Diet. Although red wine and lots of fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables also play a huge part in the diet’s success, scientists agree that it wouldn’t be nearly as beneficial without olive oil.
11. Clears up Acne
Okay, the notion of applying oil to your face to treat acne does sound a bit wacky. Still, many folks swear this works: Make a paste by mixing 4 tablespoons salt with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Pour the mixture onto your hands and fingers and work it around your face. Leave it on for a minute or two, then rinse it off with warm, soapy water. Apply daily for one week, then cut back to two or three times weekly. You should see a noticeable improvement in your condition. The principle is that the salt cleanses the pores by exfoliation, while the olive oil restores the skin’s natural moisture.
12. Cleans Your Greasy Hands
To remove car grease or paint from your hands, pour 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt or sugar into your palms. Vigorously rub the mixture into your hands and between your fingers for several minutes; then wash it off with soap and water. Not only will your hands be cleaner, they’ll be softer as well.