Olive Oil Health Benefits That Will Surprise You

10 Jul 2024

olive oil health benefits Bolay Blog

Known as "liquid gold" and an everyday cooking staple, olive oil is more than just a flavorful addition to your favorite dishes. It has been used for around 6000 years, and is shown to have numerous health benefits that contribute to overall well-being such as:

  • Improved cardiovascular health.
  • Reduced risk of certain cancers.
  • Improved brain function and mental outlook.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties.

Read on to learn more about how incorporating olive oil into your diet can bring about these surprising health benefits that are worth taking note of, and how to determine which type of olive oil to use.

Olive Oil is Antimicrobial and Anti-Inflammatory

Olive oil has antimicrobial properties that can kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms like bacteria or mold, which can cause disease. Polyphenols, natural compounds found in plant foods, act as the key components in the antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of olive oil. Studies have shown that olive oil can inhibit bacteria such as Salmonella and E-Coli.

Olive oil is not only a staple in the kitchen, but also a powerful tool in fighting inflammation. Its health benefits have been widely recognized, as olive oil also contains oleocanthal, a polyphenol with pain and inflammation-reducing effects comparable to ibuprofen. Furthermore, olive oil is also "linked to reduced joint damage in RA" (rheumatoid arthritis), according to the Arthritis Foundation.

The monounsaturated fats in olive oil have been shown to reduce inflammatory markers and improve overall inflammatory status in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, the high content of antioxidants in olive oil helps to reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to joint damage and pain in those with the disease.

Overall, the anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil are beneficial for the entire body, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and promoting overall health and well-being. From its rich supply of antioxidants to its anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil has become a popular choice for those looking to improve their overall health and well-being. 

Olive Oil Contains Large Amounts of Antioxidants

Beyond its culinary appeal, olive oil also contains large amounts of antioxidants, which are crucial for maintaining good health and preventing the damage caused by free radicals in the body. According to the NIH, olive oil contains polyphenols like HTyr that acts as a powerful antioxidant to protect your eyes, skin, and other tissue from damage.

In addition to its antimicrobial benefits, olive oil has also been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in olive oil have been shown to have a protective effect against certain types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer. These antioxidants play a crucial role in combating oxidative damage and fighting inflammation in the body. Oxidative damage caused by free radicals can lead to DNA mutations and cell damage, which are closely linked to the development of cancer. By neutralizing these free radicals, the antioxidants in olive oil help protect cells from this damage and reduce the risk of cancer.

The antioxidants and oleocanthal in olive oil play a significant role in reducing the risk of cancer by combating oxidative damage and inflammation, making it an important dietary component for overall health and disease prevention.

Olive Oil Boosts Your Brain

Looking for a brain boost? Olive oil intake has been found to support brain function and mental outlook. The healthy fats in olive oil are beneficial for brain health and may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline as we age.

As mentioned above, the phenolic compounds in olive oil have been found to possess strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds have been shown to protect nerve cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are key factors in the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil has been found to exhibit neuroprotective effects by reducing inflammation and enhancing the clearance of amyloid-beta plaques, which are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

These anti-neurodegenerative effects are particularly relevant to neurological diseases, as they can help in preventing the onset and progression of conditions like stroke, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's diseases. By combating oxidative stress and inflammation, olive oil and its components may offer a protective effect on the brain and nervous system, potentially reducing the risk and severity of neurological disorders. Incorporating olive oil into a healthy diet may therefore be beneficial in supporting brain health and reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Olive Oil Can Keep Your Heart Healthy

The positive impact on heart health is one of olive oil's other numerous benefits. It is high in monounsaturated fats, which are known to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, studies have found that olive oil may also help lower blood pressure, further supporting heart health.

Olive oil's anti-inflammatory properties can reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to heart disease.  It also improves the lining of blood vessels, leading to better endothelial function and reduced risk of plaque buildup. Furthermore, olive oil helps prevent excessive blood clotting, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Lastly, it has been shown to lower blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease.

Observational studies have consistently found a lower risk of heart disease in populations with high olive oil consumption. This suggests that incorporating plenty of extra virgin olive oil in the diet can be beneficial for individuals with heart disease, a family history of heart disease, or other major risk factors. By including olive oil in their diet, individuals can take advantage of its protective effects against heart disease and improve their overall cardiovascular health.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) vs. Regular Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and Regular Olive Oil differ in their extraction methods and characteristics. EVOO is considered high-quality olive oil, which is obtained mechanically without using chemicals or excessive heat. This gentle extraction process - as outlined by Lauren Del Turco - entails crushing olive fruit "into a mash and then either spinning or kneading the mixture to separate out the oil", preserving its nutritional value and natural fruity flavors, making it rich in antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids.

On the other hand, Regular Olive Oil is a blend of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil, where the refined oil is chemically processed to remove impurities. This makes Regular Olive Oil milder in flavor, higher in acidity and lower in nutritional value compared to EVOO.

In summary, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is prized for its superior taste, health benefits, and strict extraction process, while Regular Olive Oil is a more affordable option with a milder flavor profile. When choosing between the two, it is important to consider the extraction methods and desired nutritional qualities to make an informed decision.

Conclusion: Adding Olive Oil to Your Daily Diet

From reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, improving cognitive function as well as hair and skin quality, and contributing to overall well-being, olive oil is more than just tasty and effective, it should be a daily staple thanks to its numerous beneficial effects. You can easily incorporate olive oil into your meals such as using it as a cooking oil, drizzling it over salads, or using it as a dip for bread to be sure you're getting the most of its health benefits.

Bolay makes it even easier to take advantage of olive oil, considering it is the go-to for our chefs. No more palm or vegetable oil, our bowls are made with the real deal. Stop by one of our restaurants to try a healthy food bowl and taste the difference olive oil makes in wholesome meals today.

References

- "Olive Oil: A Brief History" - Olive Oil Emporium
- "Olive Oil vs. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: What's The Difference & Which One Should You Choose?" - Lauren Del Turco, CPT
- "Antibacterial Activity of Three Extra Virgin Olive Oils of the Campania Region, Southern Italy, Related to Their Polyphenol Content and Composition" - Filomena Nazzaro, Florinda Fratianni, Rosaria Cozzolino, Antonella Martignetti, Livia Malorni, Vincenzo De Feo, Adriano G. Cruz, and Antonio d’Acierno
- "Best Oils for Arthritis" - Arthritis Foundation
- "Go Nuts and Go Extra Virgin Olive Oil!" - Agneta Åkesson

share

recent blogs

  • Healthy Catering Options From Bolay Kitchen Florida

    Read More
  • Bold & Healthy Flavors in Florida

    Read More
  • Healthy Food in Gainesville, FL

    Read More