I assume you`ve heard before about how beneficial olive oil is for our health. And everyone has a friend somewhere in the world that consumes 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day to make sure he exceeds the 100 years of life. But what is it exactly that makes this green liquid an elixir of life? And as a Greek who respects her origin, when I talk about olive oil, I always mean the extra virgin olive oil, extracted mechanically, what they call cold-pressing.
First of all, let`s clear it up that olive oil is fat and, like every fat, it hides 9 Kcal behind every gram. So, no matter how healthy it can be, overconsumption won`t save your long worked-out waistline! Our advice is "keep it moderate". This can actually even aid in weight loss!
Having cleared this up, let`s see how the olive oil can help us. There are several categories of fats, but olive oil has chosen to keep the superstars: with 75% of a monounsaturated fatty acid, called oleic acid, it is definitely breaking the bank! MUFAs are considered resistant to heat, so unless your meal takes 10 hours to be baked, it is a safe choice for cooking. Oleic acid is found to reduce inflammation - yes, this sneaky word behind almost every disease- so, that`s already great news. Heart disease, cancer, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer`s, obesity, metabolic syndrome are all thought to be driven by chronic inflammation. And if olive oil can reduce inflammation, it can be our delicious trojan horse for it.
What is it though that gives the olive oil this superpower? Apart from the oleic acid, olive oil contains antioxidants, and key among them is a substance called oleocanthal. That is part of the phenols family and has been attributed similar anti-inflammatory properties to ibuprofen. Several studies have shown that oleocanthal targets and eliminates certain cancer cells, without harming the healthy ones. So, whenever you are in search of an olive oil, opt for the ones with high levels of phenols.
And what about the scariest of all diseases, the one that is becoming more and more common in younger populations as well? Well, olive oil starred in the first clinical trial in humans with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) during a 6-year study. Seven scientific publications related to this study provide different types of evidence that EVOO can delay the onset of Alzheimer`s disease. Studies will keep on, but what an encouraging result this can be!
Another Spanish study (scientists are my heroes and they should be awarded the olive wreath, like the Olympic winners!) revealed that a diet with 50ml of EVOO per day, with more vegetables and minimal red meat, showed a higher concentration of osteocalcin, indicating an increased bone density. In a few words, a diet rich in olive oil can also protect from osteoporosis. That could explain the lower levels of osteoporosis in the Mediterranean countries.
If you deconstruct Greece, you will in the end see an olive tree, a grapevine, and a boat remain. That is, with as much, you reconstruct her.Odysseas Elytis
No article would be enough to explain all the good that olive oil can do to our bodies. From killing harmful bacteria, as the Helicobacter pylori, and helping us absorb nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and Vitamins A, K, and E, to offering us healthy skin and protecting from several killer diseases, this "liquid gold" (using the words of Homer) should definitely be an essential ingredient of our recipes. Follow the example of the Mediterranean connoisseurs and opt for a pure extra virgin olive oil, high in phenols. Your body will thank you!