A lot of benefits have been associated with olive oil. Olive oil is a monounsaturated oil obtained from the Olea Europaea tree which is found mostly in Asia, the Mediterranean basin, and Africa. Olive oil is extracted by pressing olives – a small, oval-shaped bitter fruit with a pit, black when ripe and green when unripe. In fact, three major varieties of oils are obtained when olives are pressed and processed:
Extra virgin olive oil – The best form of olive oil, obtained when olives are freshly pressed and contains the highest amounts of vitamins and nutrients. It has a perfect balance of aroma, flavor, acidity level, and color.
Virgin olive oil – This is the second best form of olive oil, obtained from the second pressing and has less than two percent acidity level with much lower amount of nutrients compared to extra virgin oil
Pure – This form of olive oil is obtained after undergoing some processing like refining and filtering
Extra light – obtained after extensive processing and only bears semblance to the original olive oil because of unusually mild flavor
Olive oil contains a combination of compounds – about 75% monounsaturated fat known as oleic acid and 13% saturated fat – which makes it healthier and much preferred to other sources of fats such as high-fat meat and butter. It is the predominant fatty acid present in olive oil that offers tremendous benefits.
Oleic acid also has beneficial properties that help to reduce inflammation as well as a positive effect on genes associated with cancer. When present in extra virgin olive oil, monounsaturated fat is a healthy choice for food, thanks to its resistance to extreme heat.
The following are the benefits obtained from olive oil:
Olive oil contains Antioxidants
Extra virgin olive oil contains monounsaturated fat as well as copious amounts of Vitamins K and E. but asides from these organic substances which are essential for nutrition; olive oil is jam-packed with powerful antioxidants.
These antioxidants are not only biologically active, but they also help to fight inflammation as well as other serious diseases. These antioxidants also put a stop to heart disease which occurs when the cholesterol present in the blood becomes oxidized.
Olive oil aids weight loss
A lot of research has linked Mediterranean dietary outline – which is rich in olive oil with positive effects on body weight. After a two and a half year study which involved over seven thousand Spanish students that were strictly on olive oil diets, no appreciable weight gain was recorded. This only supported the fact that high consumption of olive oil had nothing to do with obesity in these studies. Rather, olive oils helps in weight loss.
Olive oil assists liver, bile, and intestinal functions
Extra virgin oil has properties which help the liver, bile, and intestinal functions. It contributes to the production of bile and hormones which prevent gallstones.
Olive oil lowers blood pressure
Studies has shown that olive oil can control not only cholesterol levels but also lowers blood pressure. A diet that is rich in olive oil has been observed to reduce the blood pressure of patients for up to fifty percent. This study involved patients with high blood pressure consuming three to four tablespoons of olive oil every day.
Olive oil alleviates symptoms of ulcers and diabetes
Olive oil contains properties that help to regulate insulin and blood sugar levels in the body. People with type 2 diabetes can control the symptoms of the ailment. Olive oil also has healing properties for individuals with gastritis and ulcers.