Source of heath
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is one of the great culinary treasures of the world, not only for its flavour but also for its beneficial qualities for our health. For all these reasons, it is the fundamental basis of the Mediterranean diet and should also become part of our daily diet. The recommended daily intake is 2 to 6 tablespoons a day.
Why should EVOO be included
in our diet?
1. It protects the heart
Extra virgin olive oil contains a high level of monounsaturated fats and oleic acid which, as studies suggest, could be associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Thanks to its high polyphenol content, its regular consumption reduces the risk of a hardening of the arteries and of suffering other heart diseases.
2. It regulates cholesterol levels
As it contains monounsaturated fats, olive oil is high in healthy fats that help maintain a healthy cholesterol balance in the body. In other words, the amount of good and bad cholesterol in our body can be controlled by olive oil. Its antioxidants improve health by regulating and lowering the bad cholesterol levels. Likewise, extra virgin olive oil will also increase the amount of good cholesterol.
3. It protects against cancer
EVOO contains phenolic antioxidants, terpenoids and squalane. These compounds help to prevent and treat cancer, given that its oleic acid content changes the cell membrane composition and helps to regulate the genes involved in this disease.
4. It fights diabetes
A number of studies have shown that it has beneficial effects on the glucose metabolism and fat metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes. This is due to the fact that the oil contains monounsaturated fats that improve blood sugar control and sensitivity to insulin.
5. It protects against Alzheimer's disease
EVOO protects against the cognitive impairment that comes with ageing, thanks to the fact that it contains oleocanthal which has the potential to reduce the risk of suffering Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative dementias.
6. It is anti-inflammatory
EVOO contains a natural chemical compound with anti-inflammatory properties similar to those of some drugs such as ibuprofen. Its oleic acid content and its numerous antioxidant agents work like a natural anti-inflammatory agent that can be consumed in large amounts.
7. It reduces high blood pressure
Its consumption stimulates the production of vasodilators and improves blood fluidity and flow, which lowers the risk of hypertension. Investigations indicate that it is essential in reducing the diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels. Thanks to its polyphenol and oleic acid content, olive oil is known to lower blood pressure and to thereby reduce the risk of hypertension
8. It promotes calcium absorption
EVOO contributes to bone mineralisation and calcification, given that it contains vitamin D. This promotes the absorption of calcium in the body, strengthening the bones and helping to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis. A number of studies have demonstrated that a diet rich in EVOO is related to a significant increase in the total concentration of osteocalcin as well as other bone formation markers.
9. It reduces the risk of depression
A number of investigations have discovered that a greater consumption of EVOO and the polyunsaturated fats found in fish oils and fatty vegetables are associated with a lower risk of depression. On the other hand, the consumption of hydrogenated fats primarily found in processed foods leads to a greater risk of suffering depression. As well as helping to combat depression, extra virgin olive oil also helps cognitive functioning and reduces the risk of dementia.
10. It helps to combat gastrointestinal disorders
Extra virgin olive oil forms a protective film that lines the stomach and duodenum to protect against the formation of ulcers. Many doctors recommend the consumption of EVOO due to its content in fat-soluble vitamins E and A, and as it is a carrier vehicle in our bodies.
11. It can aid weight loss
Although EVOO is known for its fat content, it is important to stress that these are healthy fats. The latest studies on the long term effects of a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil on the metabolic syndrome, have confirmed its effectiveness in reducing abdominal obesity and the blood glucose levels, two indicators of the presence of metabolic syndrome, suffered by 25% of Spanish adults.
12. The best cosmetic
EVOO is rich in nutritional properties, antioxidants and vitamins K and E which help to keep the skin hydrated and healthy, combating premature ageing. For this reason, and due to its ability to maintain the natural elasticity of the skin, it is a basic ingredient in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. Furthermore, olive oil has a great capacity to repair damaged skin tissue and is used on marks or scars, providing vitamins to the dermis in order to promote recovery.