Surprising health benefits of using olive oil in your diet

A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has been used for thousands of years in recipes.

Its health benefits have long been known, but now science has caught up and proven conclusively that olive oil, and especially extra-virgin olive oil, is good for you in many different ways.

Olive oil on salad

It’s good for your heart

Olive oil is considered by many to be the reason people in the Mediterranean have astonishing low rates of heart disease, and a higher average life expectancy than the rest of Europe. Studies also back this up, with olive oil found to lower LDL cholesterol, the bad type of cholesterol.

Olive oil is high in fats, but they are mostly monounsaturated, the “healthy” type of fats. These not only reduce the bad type of cholesterol, but they also raise the good type, HDL (high-density lipoprotein).

HDL cholesterol is considered good because it helps remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

Olives are packed with antioxidants

Olives are some of the best foods for antioxidants, such as vitamin E, carotenoids and phenolic compounds.

Antioxidants occur naturally in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, wine, and chocolate. They prevent or delay some types of cell damage by fighting off free radicals. These are atoms with a spare electron that float around and attach themselves to you.

Free radicals are dangerous because they can change your body, weakening blood vessels and even alter your DNA, causing cancer.

A healthy balance of antioxidants can reduce cancer risk, slow the ageing process and lessen the risk of vision loss due to cataracts and macular degeneration.

Italian grandmother

It keeps your brain healthy

The human brain is mostly made up of fatty acids, and we need plenty in our daily diet in order to keep performing tasks and think clearly. Being high in monounsaturated fats, olive oil is considered a brain food, improving memory, mood and attention.

There are also studies suggesting that olive oil may help fight against the causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A compound in the oil called olecanthal may have neuroprotective properties, protecting brain cells from dangerous neurotoxins. Again, people in the Mediterranean have noticeably low statistics when it comes to dementia, but a direct correlation is as yet not proven.

Remarkable anti-inflammatory properties

Extra-virgin olive oil has been found to help conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, by mimicking the effect of anti-inflammatory drugs.

In one study, researchers came to the conclusion that 3.5 tablespoons of olive oil was equivalent to 200mg of ibuprofen when reducing inflammation. Another study in 2015, which was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, found that olive oil had a significant impact not only on chronic inflammation but also on acute inflammatory processes.

Woman shopping for olive oil

Olivado’s extra virgin olive oil

With science finally catching up to what everyone has known for years, it’s important to remember that not all olive oil is the same.

Olivado’s extra virgin, organic olive oil is cold pressed, meaning the temperature never gets above 45 degrees. This process allows the oil to retain its goodness, keeping all those antioxidants, polyphenols, and organic compounds inside the bottle where they belong.

With over 360mg/kg of phenolic compounds when bottled, our organic extra virgin olive oil exceeds the requirements of the EU EFSA health claim: “daily consumption of 5mg of olive oil polyphenols contributes to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative damage”, with 5.4mg in a 15ml serving.

With a robust, herbaceous and peppery flavour, our unique olive oil is quite simply the best on the market. Contact us today if you would like to know more about our oils, or explore our range of products here.