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Five Health Benefits of Olive Oil

By Sally Nightingale

The benefits of olive oil have been recognized by many ancient physicians like Hippocrates, Galen and Diocles. In recent years, modern doctors and nutritionists have realized that olive oil, particularly pure extra virgin oil, contributes significant nutritional value to human health. Other than providing a delicate addition to many dishes, extra virgin oil is one of the most health-promoting types of oils available. It is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants, a type of fat that has excellent health benefits...

1. Protective Against Heart Disease

Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (good) levels. No other naturally produced oil has large an amount of monounsaturated.

Extra virgin oil, which is the oil from the first pressing of the olives, contains 88% of its vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol that is easily synthesized by the body. These antioxidants are very important as they prevent the oxidation of LDLs which can cause damage to nerve cells and arteries and lead to coronary heart disease and even cancer. Extra virgin oil is not as refined as other olive oils and is the best vegetable oil for heart health.

2. Cancer Inhibitor

A study has identified oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil, has the ability to reduce the effect of an oncogene - a gene that will turn a host cell into a cancer cell, particularly associated with breast cancer tumors. Also, unlike other fats that are associated with a higher risk of colon cancer, olive oil helps protect the cells of the colon from carcinogens. It is also suggested that the antioxidants in the oil reduce the amount of carcinogens formed when meat is cooked.

3. Better Blood Sugar Control

Studies in diabetic patients have shown that healthy meals that contained some olive oil had better effects than healthy meals that were low in fat. Diabetics or those at risk for diabetes are advised to combine low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet with the oil. Studies show this combination is better at controlling blood sugar levels compared to a diet that consists entirely of low-fat meals. Additionally, many diabetics live with higher triglyceride levels that put them at higher risk for heart disease, however this oil is shown to reduce these triglyceride levels.

4. Anti-Inflammatory benefits

Regular use of olive oil has been associated with lower rates of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. The body uses monounsaturated fats found in the oil to produce substances that are relatively anti-inflammatory. By reducing inflammation, these fats can help reduce the severity of arthritis symptoms, and may be able to prevent or reduce the severity of asthma.

5. Anti-Aging

As we get older our digestive system finds it harder to absorb nutrients from food, especially vitamins and minerals. However, olive oil and its nutrients are very digestible. It helps to aid digestion and is believed to lower gallstone formation as well as promoting bone mineralization. The polyphenols found in the oil have also been found to slow the process of aging and help prevent degenerative diseases.

Sally Nightingale writes on behalf of GetOily which stocks a range of quality extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

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