Extra virgin olive oil can be a tasty addition to your food. But did you know it’s one of the most health promoting oils available?
It provides tremendous health benefits in addition to its wonderful flavor. You can use it on your pasta, salad, fish, vegetables, and many other dishes.
Regular use of extra virgin olive oil in place of other fats can reduce your risk of heart disease, colon cancer, asthma, atherosclerosis, and other disorders.
Protection from Heart Disease
Extra virgin olive oil is filled with polyphenols and monounsaturated fats (MUFA) that have been proven effective in the fight against heart disease. Additionally this oil can regulate both good and bad cholesterol. The good cholesterol, HDL, helps remove bad cholesterol LDL from the lining of the arteries that can cause them to clog and harden, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Additionally those helpful polyphenols in olive oil encourage antibodies to grow that can slow down arterial hardening.
While there is much debate among the medical community about the health benefits of oils, even the FDA has been forced to admit that a small dose of extra virgin olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease. With both scientific and anecdotal evidence pointing to extra virgin olive oil as an important oil for heart health, many nutritionists are recommended patients give up other fats that include canola and vegetable oil.
In fact a Greek study found that using only olive oil to prepare food could reduce heart disease by almost half!
Protection from Colon and Breast Cancer
Replace the butter and margarine in your diet with extra virgin olive oil and you also reduce your chance of developing colon, breast, and skin cancers. In fact, some studies show extra virgin olive oil may be just as effective in the prevention of colon cancer as fresh fruits and vegetables.
One reason may be the monounsaturated fats (MUFA) in extra virgin olive oil are less likely than saturated fats to produce free radicals, which can damage your cell membranes and lead to cancer.
Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fat in extra virgin olive oil, has been shown to protect against breast cancer too.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil as a Pain Reliever
Proper diet is an important part of breaking the pain cycle. Add extra virgin olive oil to that list of good foods.
Extra virgin olive oil combats painful inflammation throughout your body. And it also contains high levels of oleocanthal, a natural pain reliever that safely inhibits cyclooxygenase (COX) similar to dangerous medicines like some NSAIDs.
Extra virgin olive oil also makes a great topical oil for massage. Warm a cup of extra virgin olive oil and gently massage it into your sore muscles and painful joints to soothe the aggravated areas.
Other Health Benefits
While many patients suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes are encourage to remove fat from their diet, researchers have concluded that extra virgin olive oil can lower blood pressure and reduce the insulin requirements for those with type 2 diabetes.
One particularly interesting study found that olive oil can help prevent visceral fat, the most dangerous type of fat. The study participants were insulin-dependent were given a diet high in the MUFAs from extra virgin olive oil, and at the end of the test the majority of the participants had less body fat around the midsection.
So in addition to helping you feel better on the inside, another health benefit of extra virgin olive oil is that you’ll look better on the outside!
Perhaps one of the reasons that those in the Mediterranean with a diet that features extra virgin olive oil look so young is because of the anti-oxidants like vitamin E that slow down the aging process so you look younger. Of course this is no substitute for an overall healthy diet, it is good to know that something this small can have such a huge impact on your health and beauty.
Speaking of aging, a few tablespoons of olive oil can improve your bone health as well as cognitive benefits that decline with age. With cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to polyphenols, you can improve your health greatly by replacing most of your cooking fat with extra virgin olive oil and reap the full benefits.
Surprising Uses of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Moisturizer — Add a few drops to your bath to moisturize your skin.
Lip Balm — The perfect lip balm to relieve dry and chapped lips.
Hair Care — Comb just a drop through your hair to control frizz.
Laxative — Take one or two tablespoons first thing in the morning.
Manicure — Rub into cuticles and nails for a finished look.
Cookware — Naturally shine and condition your pots and pans.
Believe it or not, there are even more uses and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil than what I’ve covered here today. But one thing is clear, extra virgin olive oil deserves a place at your table.
Written By: Updated: May 16,2011