Reduce Your Risk of Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes with Olive Oil
Olive oil has a major place in the Mediterranean diet, and the principal aspect of this diet includes proportionally high consumption of olive oil. Olive oil contains a very high level of monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid, which studies suggest may be linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Olive oil is a type of fat extracted from the olive tree which is a traditional tree from the Mediterranean basin. It is produced by crushing whole olive fruits before the oil is extracted. The health benefits of olive oil are wide, a reason why it has been named the Mediterranean miracle.
Olive Oil Types
Olive oil is used in the cosmetics industry, cooking, pharmaceuticals and even in the making of soaps (such as Castile soap). Olive oil exists in a variety of grades depending on processing. For instance, extra virgin olive oil is considered the premium type. It is produced from the first crushing of olive fruits and is extracted through cold-pressing whereby no chemicals are added. Virgin oil is the second variety, obtained from the second pressing of the fruits and is considered the second-best type. Refined olive oil is obtained from refined virgin olive and it has an acidity level of over 3.3%.
The oil contains phenolic antioxidants, terpenoid and squalene which are all anti-cancer compounds. The oil also has oleic acid which prevents chronic inflammation and reduces the damage free radicals cause to body cells.
Eating healthy oils and fats such as olive oil is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
Here are some amazing health benefits of olive oil:
1. Olive oil and cancer
One of its main benefits is that olive oil protects against skin, colon and breast cancer. A number of research studies have documented that eating a healthy diet with olive oil as the main source of fat could considerably lower cancer incidence.
This beneficial effect could be attributed to oleic acid, the predominant monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil. However, it is not excluded that other substances of olive oil, such as antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols and squalene may also have a positive influence. Squalene is believed to have a favorable effect on the skin by reducing the incidence of melanomas. And indeed olive oil is one of the top 14 foods that protect against cancer development.
Further reading: Find more information about the link between olive oil consumption and reduced breast cancer risk in my article how to use extra virgin olive oil to prevent breast cancer.
2. Olive oil and Alzheimer’s Disease
Several studies have shown that olive oil can affect the brain and reduce the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This disease is one of the most studied diseases and a significant cause of dementia in the elderly.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, which is a brain condition that leads to a decline in an individual’s memory, thinking and reasoning abilities.
In a study published in PLOS One journal, mice with Alzheimer’s disease were given oleuropein aglycone, the main polyphenol found in extra virgin olive oil for 8 weeks. The results showed a significant improvement in the cognitive performance of the mice compared to the group that did not receive the olive oil polyphenol.
The scientists also conducted memory performance tests and noted that in the mouse model, cognitive impairment was completely prevented by oleuropein aglycone administration to the mice.
Another research by the Geriatric Research Educational and Clinical Center, examined the effects of extra virgin olive oil on learning and memory in mice having brain oxidative damage for 6 weeks. The findings suggest that extra virgin olive oil has beneficial effects on learning and memory deficits found in aging and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Further reading: Get familiar with these 8 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease you shouldn’t ignore, and find the top 5 foods and supplements to delay Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Read also about the amazing story of Dr. Mary Newport who rescued her husband from Alzheimer’s disease with coconut oil.
3. Olive oil and diabetes
A study published in scientific journal Diabetes Care indicated that any Mediterranean diet which contains olive oil is capable of reducing type II diabetes by over 50%. This is because the oil contains monounsaturated fats like those found in seeds and nuts. These fats are essential in reducing risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
It has been demonstrated that a diet rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately rich in carbohydrates and soluble fiber from fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains is the most effective approach for diabetics. This type of diet improves blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity.
Further reading: You can find more information about the 14 best foods to control diabetes. Also read my previous article about 7 effective steps to prevent diabetes and top 10 spices and herbs for type 2 diabetes.
4. Olive oil and osteoporosis
Olive oil may be used to significantly reduce osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that means your bones are weak, and you’re more likely to break a bone. ‘Osteoporosis’ literally means ‘porous bones’ and is often referred to as the ‘fragile bone disease‘ with an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis is often called a “silent” disease because it has no discernible symptoms until there is a bone fracture.
A study from Madrid University found that people who consumed more olive oil had higher levels of osteocalcin, which is a protein secreted by bone-forming cells. High level of osteocalcin is an indicator of strong bones.
Further reading: Find here more information about the 4 steps to prevent osteoporosis.
5. Olive oil and blood pressure
A study published in Archives of Internal Medicine journal reports that people on high blood pressure medications may be able to reduce the amount of medicine they take if they substitute extra-virgin olive oil (about 30-40 grams per day) for other types of fats in their diet.
Further reading: Find here more information on how to reduce high blood pressure
6. Olive oil and cholesterol
According to Mayo Clinic, olive oil contains a strong mix of antioxidants that can lower your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) but leave your “good” cholesterol (HDL) untouched.
Even The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows manufacturers of olive oil to claim that “limited but not conclusive evidence suggests that eating about two tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil”.
Further reading: Read also my other articles about cholesterol: How to lower cholesterol with this natural substance and what most doctors won’t tell you about cholesterol.
7. Olive oil and depression
Olive oil has also been said to control depression. A Spanish study revealed that people who take hydrogenated fats which are mainly found in processed foods had a 48% risk of suffering depression. In addition, the researchers discovered that a higher intake of olive oil and polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish and vegetable oils was associated with a lower risk of depression.
Further reading: Read my article about natural cures for depression.
How Much Olive Oil to Consume
So in essence extra virgin olive oil is an essential type of oil which is recommended for use instead of animal fats where possible. You can greatly enhance the health benefits of olive oil by consuming it with foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet. These anti-inflammatory benefits of extra virgin olive oil don’t depend on consuming a large amount of it. As little as 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day have been shown to be associated with significant anti-inflammatory benefits.
You can drizzle olive oil on your bread, make olive oil dressings for salads by combining olive oil with lemon or vinegar, salt, ground pepper, crushed garlic and fresh herbs. Or drizzle olive oil on cooked/baked vegetables or mashed potatoes.
Olive oil is one of the top 14 foods that protect against cancer development. Click here to find out the rest of the foods that contribute to anti-cancer diet: