13 benefits and properties of olive oil
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the most healthy and balanced that exist , and is a set of eating habits typical of the peoples of the Mediterranean basin. It is attributed certain beneficial properties for health and an outstanding role in the prevention of various diseases, largely thanks to the contribution of olive oil.
The Mediterranean diet consists of approximately 50 to 55% of calories that come from carbohydrates (mainly complex and rich in fiber), 10 to 12% of proteins and 30 to 35% of fats. Here is the importance of olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats, which belong to the group of healthy fats.
- If you want to know what are the differences between good fats and bad fats, you can read our article: "Types of fats (good and bad) and their functions"
Benefits and nutritional properties of olive oil
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, has a series of properties and benefits that we show you below.
1. Help live longer
Olive oil brings great flavor to many foods, but It also helps prevent and reduce the development of many diseases . Studies show that consuming olive oil daily is essential to prevent certain types of cancer, so it would help to live longer. This food, in addition to tasty, is very healthy.
2. Antibacterial properties
Many of the diseases that prevents this food is for its antibacterial properties , which has been shown to be particularly effective against Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that can cause ulcers and stomach cancer. In fact, research shows that it is effective against eight strains of this bacterium, three of which are resistant to antibiotics. The same study has shown that 30 grams of extra virgin olive oil can eliminate Helicobacter pylori infection in 10-40% of people in just 2 weeks.
3. Improves intestinal health
As you can see in the previous point, olive oil improves the health of the stomach and digestive system , and acts as a protector reducing the excess of acids in this part of the body. Likewise, it increases the PH of the organism because it favors the absorption of calcium and magnesium.
4. Prevents arthritis
The olive oil can help reduce joint pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis . These effects are magnified when combined with the intake of omega-rich fish
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes deformed and painful joints. Although the causes are not known, it is believed that it occurs due to a deficient immune system in which antibodies attack healthy cells by mistake. Studies show that extra virgin oil reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in individuals with this condition.
5. Improves cognitive functions
Polyphenols are bioactive compounds that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories , and studies have shown that they potentiate the birth of new neurons. Olive oil, among many other nutrients, contains polyphenols. Also, people who consume more fat have better memory, and those who consume monounsaturated fats enjoy better cognitive functions, metabolic functions and greater brain development.
Fats, in addition, favor the formation of cell membranes and brain tissue.
6. Prevents type II diabetes
This food has a protector against diabetes , for its beneficial effects on blood glucose and insulin sensitivity. This was confirmed by a study published in the journal Diabetes Journal that included 418 subjects. According to the results, the group that consumed the Mediterranean diet with olive oil reduced the risk of developing type II diabetes by more than 40%.
7. Improves skin health
The extra virgin olive oil helps contain anti-aging agents , and nutrients that fight osteoporosis and skin damage. Apparently, olive oil adds a protective layer on the skin, both through consumption and application.
8. Prevents cancer
As I said in the first point, olive oil prevents cancer. The antioxidants found in this type of oil help reduce oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which is believed to be one of the main origins of cancer.
9. Prevents Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's is the neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by the accumulation of so-called beta-amyloid plaques inside brain cells. A study in mice showed that olive oil could remove these plaques from neurons.
10. Help to lose weight
Consuming healthy fats can be beneficial when burning calories, as it speeds up the metabolism . In addition, experts in this area, such as Leandro Ravetti, say that "a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil can promote weight loss and maintenance. In fact, low-fat diets are less effective than those that contain healthy fats for this purpose. "
11. Improves the immune system
Having a strong immune system is key to enjoy good health, it is necessary to combat viruses or bacteria that could harm our body. The antioxidants of "green gold" help improve the immune system and, in this way, prevent diseases.
12. Prevents heart disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the world, and olive oil could prevent them, because it significantly reduces the risk of heart disease Through numerous mechanisms, for example, it reduces inflammation, improves the function of the lining of blood vessels and can help prevent unwanted blood clotting.
13. Reduce cholesterol
In addition, olive oil helps protect the body from bad cholesterol or LDL , and the phytosterols it contains increase HDL, which helps to balance cholesterol. This causes a reduction of cardiovascular diseases and arteriosclerosis.