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Extra Virgin Olive Oil Health Benefits For Body and Brain

Updated on September 30, 2016

Over the years, researchers have noticed that the incidence of cancer in the Mediterranean region is far lower than in most other regions of the world. Many have claimed that this fact is mainly down to diet and it looks as if there is good reason to believe that. I have covered another mainstay of the Mediterranean diet and it’s health benefits in a number of other articles, if you are yet to read them, why not check out Eating which superfood will mean you can throw away all your anti-aging skincare products forever, today? and If you want to reduce your cholesterol without statins or going to the gym, read this immediately!

Cancer

The World Health Organisation list countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region as having the lowest rate of deaths from cancers in the world and this is more than likely down to the famed Mediterranean diet. Even skin cancer, which you may have thought in a warm and sunny climate such as the Mediterranean would have a higher incidence rate, is stunningly low. The incidence of skin cancer in the Mediterranean is 3 in every 100,000 of the population. If we contrast this with the rate of skin cancer in Australia, where it is 50 in every 100,000, it may help to focus our minds on what foods it is that give them a healthy advantage where staying clear of cancers is concerned.

As recently as last year, scientists were amazed to find that the primary phenolic compound found in extra-virgin olive oil which is called Oleocanthal could destroy cancer cells in the lab completely, in less than an hour.

Alzheimers

As well as helping protect against cancer, the compound Oleocanthal has also been linked by scientists to being a possible key player in the fight against neurological conditions, including Alzheimers. Studies carried out by researchers at the University of Louisiana at Monroe has shown promising results in this area and more work is being carried out to determine just how effective it could be in bringing relief to sufferers.

Consuming olive oil in moderate amounts could help you keep a smile on your face!
Consuming olive oil in moderate amounts could help you keep a smile on your face!

Depression

Researchers at University of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have found a correlation between consumption of olive oil and emotional wellbeing – including a lower incidence of depression and mental illness. It was found that individuals who consume olive oil on a regular basis and eat a diet that is high in polyunsaturated fats, oily fish and vegetable oils have a much lower chance of suffering with depression.

Heart Disease

It has been demonstrated that olive oil can lower readings of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and could also play a role in raising HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol. Olive oil can help prevent heart disease in those who may otherwise be at risk and also help reduce incidence of a repeat event in those who have already suffered from a heart attack

Strokes

Tests have shown that olive oil can help to stop blood clots forming. It actively works against foods that promote blood clotting and hence it has a big role to play in preventing strokes. A study by the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Bordeaux, concluded that individuals in older age groups who consumed olive oil regularly had a 41% reduced chance of suffering from a stroke than those in the same age groups who consumed no olive oil. Researchers recommended that ‘moderate use of olive oil in cooking and on bread may help protect against stroke in people older than 65.’

Diabetes

Scientists at Sapienza University in Rome have found that olive oil consumption has a more beneficial effect on levels of blood sugar and cholesterol after eating, than other types of fat. The scientists found in an experiment that volunteers who had consumed corn oil had significantly higher glucose levels than those who had consumed olive oil.

The scientists did not suggest that you should smother every meal in olive oil in order to obtain the benefit, however they did suggest that it would be wise to substitute olive oil for other fats, perhaps dipping your bread in olive oil, rather than using butter or other vegetable spreads.

Osteoporosis

Olive oil has been found to be a factor in helping bones stay healthy and has also been identified as a key element in helping prevent bone loss and osteoporosis in old age by increasing the production of osteoblasts cells. Researchers in Spain found that those who use olive oil as a regular ingredient in their diets had elevated levels of Osteocalcin in their blood which is secreted by the osteoblasts cells. Osteocalcin is often used as a marker for bone formation.

Conclusion

All the evidence suggests that incorporating olive oil into your diet on a regular basis has some incontrovertible benefits, and those benefits are only multiplied as we approach old age.

It should be pointed out that to obtain the most benefit, you should be looking to use good quality extra-virgin olive oils. Currently, due to scarcity of supply, prices for olive oil are at an all-time high and there is a huge amount of counterfeit olive oil, in some estimates as much as 80% of shop purchased olive oil is actually fake. That being the case, it is a good bet on keeping to the high quality, well known brands and buying it from outlets that are known for high quality produce.

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