While many people equate oil with fat, olive oil is actually an extremely healthy part of your everyday diet. Research suggest that just two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day can have a significant positive effect on your health and well being.
The keys to olive oil’s health benefits are its high levels of monounsaturated fat and antioxidants. Here are just a few of the benefits that come from adding olive oil into your diet.
Heart health. Olive oil is known as one of the “healing fats.” The monounsaturated fats help lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels while simultaneously raising HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels. The antioxidants, especially those found in extra virgin olive oil, help increase the antioxidant level in your blood.
Cancer prevention. Studies continue to suggest that olive oil contains a protective element against many types of cancer. Research has shown a link between diets that use olive oil as the main fat source and a lower risk for colon, breast, prostate, endometrium, and digestive tract cancer.
Blood pressure regulation. Olive oil works to decrease both your maximum (systolic) and minimum (diastolic) blood pressure
Diabetes maintenance. Olive oil not only helps improves the level of your blood sugar, it also helps lower “bad” low-density lipoprotein and enhances your insulin sensitivity.
Studies have shown that people with diets rich in olive oil also have a lower risk factor for strokes and a decreased possibility of developing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
Olive oil also benefits mental health. Recent studies in Spain suggest that people who include olive oil into their healthy diet are 30% less likely to suffer from depression. Other research shows that a diet rich in olive oil can off-set many types of brain-related problems, including memory loss and verbal fluency.
With all of its potential benefits, not to mention it delicious flavor, it is no surprise that many areas of the world have olive oil as the center of their cuisine.