Olive oil is how we refer to the oil obtained from the fruit of olive trees.  People have been eating olive oil for thousands of years and it is now more popular than ever, thanks to its many proven health benefits and its culinary usefulness.  These days, people like myself enjoy olive oil in cooking, and in eating French bread in Italian restaurants.  How delicious is it to dip your fresh bread into a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar?  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!  But the culinary uses are endless … I’m sure you have some favorite recipes and uses with olive oil.  But that’s just the fun part of consuming this delicious oil.

But more importantly, the health benefits of olive oil are unrivaled, and research reveals more benefits nearly every day. In fact, we are only just beginning to understand the countless ways olive oil can improve our health, and our lives.  Olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet — an essential nutritional mainstay for the world’s longest-living cultures. Many of the health-promoting effects of the Mediterranean diet have been attributed to olive oil consumption.

Replacing butter and other less healthy fats with olive oil has been shown to aid in the prevention of a myriad of diseases and counter effects of aging. One prominent cardiologist recommends at least two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day to enjoy the many ways olive oil can be beneficial to your health and well being.

Olive oil benefits are so extensive that it is considered a functional food with components that contribute to its overall therapeutic qualities including a reduction of risk factors of coronary heart disease, the prevention of cancers, and alterations of immune and inflammatory responses.

? Why should I use olive oil?

Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and the cornerstone of the famous Mediterranean diet. Most people choose olive oil because of its many proven benefits to human health. Extra virgin olive oils offer even more: a world of fruity-bitter tastes that chefs are capturing to elevates dishes to a level they never thought possible.

? 8 Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Studies of the health benefits of olive oil consumption fill the pages of medical journals around the world. Heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancers are among the long list ailments that can be avoided and conditions that can be improved by a diet that includes olive oil.  Replace other fats like butter with at least two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil every day, eat lots of veggies and go for a walk.

In a 2010 review of research, a team of Spanish researchers listed these olive oil benefits:

  1. Improves blood pressure, an expression of better endothelial function (the endothelium is the critical inner layer of blood vessels that produces nitric oxide, a compound necessary for keeping blood vessels relaxed and dilated)
  2. Inhibits oxidation of LDL cholesterol
  3. Increases protective HDL cholesterol
  4. Inhibits abnormal blood clotting
  5. Contributes to reduction of cancer risk (mainly breast, colorectal, and prostate)
  6. Lowers risk of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease
  7. Protects body from ulcerative colitis – an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the large intestine (colon).  Scientists at the University of East Anglia in England say that consuming more olive oil could help fend off ulcerative colitis.
  8. Prevents against acute pancreatitis –  extra virgin olive oil is rich in oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol, which affect the development of acute pancreatitis (sudden inflammation of the pancreas).  Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain carried out an in vitro experiment which found that the components of extra virgin olive oil can protect from acute pancreatitis.

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