What exactly is olive oil and why is it good for your health? Olive oil comes from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea) where whole olives are pressed to make oil. Olive trees are native to the Mediterranean basin and have been cultivated for millennia as an important food source.
Let’s look at some of the health benefits of olive oil.
What Type of Olive Oil Is Best?
Due to its popularity, there are many different types of olive oil on the market. Olive oil is made by crushing and mixing the olives, then separating the oil from the pulp in the centrifuge.
After the centrifuge, oil remains in the pomace which can be separated via chemical solvents, giving you olive pomace oil. This is the lowest kind of oil and generally isn’t considered to be of great nutritional value.
Olive oil can generally be separated into three main categories:
Of these, the latter contains the most health benefits as it is the least refined and most pure. Extra-virgin olive oil contains a specific taste and aroma due to the high presence of phenolic antioxidants, which is why it proves so beneficial. Visit Wellness Nova for more tips on a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Olive Oil and Cardiovascular Health
Olive oil traditionally is the main fat source of people in the Mediterranean. Cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke are amongst the most common causes of death in the world today. Studies have shown that these diseases contain a lower prevalence in the people who live around the Mediterranean Sea.
Olive oil protects against heart disease by:
Lowering Bad Cholesterol
Olive oil protects LDL (bad cholesterol) from oxidative damage, which is a key contributing factor to heart disease.
Lowering Blood Pressure
One study in patients with elevated blood pressure showed that consuming olive oil helps lower blood pressure significantly, thus reducing the need for medication by 48%.
Preventing Blood Clotting
Some studies have shown that the consumption of olive oil can help reduce blood clotting, a key factor leading to strokes and heart attacks.
Olive Oil Is Not Associated With Weight Gain or Obesity
Even though olive oil is high in fat, it is not associated with either weight gain or obesity. In fact, numerous studies have shown its favorable effect on body weight. Studies of 187 people over three years showed that an increased amount of olive oil consumption was linked to higher antioxidant levels in the blood, as well as weight loss.
The Bottom Line
Olive oil has been the primary fat source of people in the Mediterranean for thousands of years, who are statistically some of the healthiest and longest-living on the planet. The healthiest form of olive oil is extra-virgin, which is the least refined version that retains all the potent benefits of the olive.
Olive oil has repeatedly been shown to have beneficial effects upon cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease – one of the world’s leading causes of death. Even though olive oil is rich in fat, it is a monounsaturated fat that actually helps with weight loss.