Olive oil is one of the main ingredients in the Mediterranean Diet. People who follow the Mediterranean diet have been shown to be healthier and live longer, so what is it about this oil which is so good and different to other oils?
Cardiovascular health: Olive oil is rich in monosaturated fats which have been shown to slow ageing of the heart. Many studies have shown that olive oil consumption reduces total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol levels whilst not reducing our “good” cholesterol levels. This helps prevents the formation of fatty plaques in our blood vessels. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure.
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidants: Where olive oil really shines is in its antioxidant content, particularly vitamin E which can help lower the risk of digestive tract cancers such as colon and stomach cancer. New research is even suggesting it can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Olive oil contains oleic acid and oleocanthal, nutrients that can fight inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a big problem in heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis and olive oil has been shown to reduce this inflammation.
Glowing skin and strong bones: Extra virgin olive oil helps with anti-ageing by protecting against skin damage. It also aids in the absorption of calcium and promotes strong bones.
When choosing an olive oil remember that the extra virgin olive oils contain the most nutrition. Olive oil tastes great! The average Mediterranean consumes 20L per year – so splash a little extra on your salad and reap the benefits.