The Health Benefits of Olive Oil – Part 1

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The Health Benefits of Olive Oil – Part 1

There’s endless debate over whether butter or coconut oil or seed oils like sunflower oil are healthy or not.  But one thing almost everyone agrees on is that olive oil is one of the healthiest fats on earth. That’s why Zane Hellas uses extra virgin olive oil in many of its wellness supplements, from its oregano oil softgels to its range of pre-diluted oregano oils

The wild olive tree originated in Ancient Greece. Olive trees have been grown in the Mediterranean for thousands of years and olive oil is said to have first been cultivated in Greece.  Today, Greece has the highest per capita consumption of olive oil.

To be classified as “extra virgin”, olive oil is rigorously tested and must have been produced via a straightforward first pressing of olives, rather than by chemical methods.

  1. It’s Anti-Inflammatory

Many of today’s most common illnesses — like allergies, cancer, heart disease and asthma — have been linked to chronic inflammation.  Oleic acid, one of the monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil has been shown to reduce the markers of inflammation in medical studies. Japanese research, carried out in 2007, found that intakes of oleic acid reduced the signs of inflammation in the body.

  1. It may protect your mind

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and medical research strongly suggests this type of fat can slow down the cognitive decline associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s.  A recent Temple University study concluded: “The Mediterranean diet is associated with a variety of health benefits, including a lower incidence of dementia. Now, researchers have identified a specific ingredient that protects against cognitive decline: extra-virgin olive oil. In a new study, the researchers show that consumption of extra-virgin olive oil protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain — classic markers of Alzheimer’s disease.”

  1. Believed to ward off diabetes

Eating extra virgin olive oil as part of a balanced diet may help delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Although a low-fat diet has traditionally been recommended for diabetes prevention, recent studies reveal that it is the type of fat being consumed that is most important, not its amount.  Monounsaturated fats help balance your insulin levels.

  1. It’s a natural antioxidant

Antioxidants are substances that contribute towards the prevention of damage to one’s body’s cells caused by ‘free radicals’. Free radicals can contribute to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other serious illnesses.  Olive oil contains phenolic compounds that serve as powerful antioxidants, helping protect us from these illnesses. According to research published in Nutrition Research Reviews, two chemical compounds (hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein), which give extra virgin olive oil its bitter taste, have exhibited powerful antioxidant activity. The vitamin E in olive oil also displays antioxidant activities.

Nutritional profile of 100 grams of olive oil:

  • Saturated Fat: 8%.
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 73% (most of it the 18 carbon long oleic acid).
  • Omega-6: 7%.
  • Omega-3: 76%.
  • Vitamin E: 72% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin K: 75% of the RDA.

by Precious Williams.

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