Benefits of Olive oil are discovered around the world on almost a daily basis. Olive oil plays an extremely important role in the Mediterranean Diet as it creates a healthy substitute for commonly used saturated fats such as butter and margarine.
The research carried out on olive oil over the last few years by respected institutions such as Harvard and Oxford Universities has had very positive results.
Which Olive Oil Yields the Most Benefits?
It has been found that the most beneficial olive oil is ‘extra-virgin’ olive oil – the oil created by the first pressing of the olives. Choosing ‘extra-virgin’ olive oil as your main source of dietary fat is a prime factor in maintaining good health as this type of oil can actually lower the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol levels. Saturated fats increase both blood pressure levels and the risk of heart disease.
This was proved by a recent study involving people suffering from ‘hypertension’ whose dietary intake of olive oil was purposely increased. After a period of 2 months, the effect that the increased intake had was significant enough to decrease their anti-hypertensive drug dosage by 50%!! Another study concluded that a person’s risk of a fatal heart attack is halved in just 2 to 4 years if they switch to a diet with a higher olive oil consumption.
Research has also found that olive oil may influence body fat distribution meaning less fat is stored around the stomach and waist. This is significant as those who store their body fat around the waist also have a higher risk of heart disease. Consumption of olive oil is also thought to lead to a reduced risk of some cancers and even diabetes.
How to Choose the Best Olive Oil
Olive Oil as a Painkiller
Other findings were reported in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ newspaper in the United Kingdom. Scientists from the ‘Morell Chemical Senses Center’ in Philadelphia found that extra-virgin olive oil relieves pain in the same way as some ‘pain-killers’ such as Ibuprofen. They discovered that the oil contains an anti-inflammatory compound called ‘oleocanthal’ which suppresses the same pain pathway as the ‘painkillers’ do.
This is extremely important as it is the inflammation in the body that is believed to play a key role in causing some chronic diseases like cancer.
All Olive Oils Are Not Created Equal
The difference between the various olive oils is in their acidity level. The acidity level affects only the taste of the olive oil that you purchase; it has virtually no impact on the nutritional content. For all cooking purposes buy a medium priced ‘extra virgin’ olive oil from either Spain or Italy. Never use ‘vegetable’ of ‘sunflower’ oils to cook with as they can contain ‘hydrogenated’ fats.
Take advantage of these benefits of olive oil at your next meal. Get more Mediterranean Diet info now. Click Here to get your free Diet & Weight Loss eBook now.