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olive oil benefits

Updated on December 31, 2014

OLIVE OIL NUTRITION AND HEALTH

The nutrition and health benefits of olive oil have been witnessed over the decades. A case study point can be the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil forms a major component of the diet. Due to this, people from the region have everything from longer life expectancies to lower risks of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke when compared to other regions such as North America and the Northern regions of Europe. Its applications bear over into personal care, natural remedies, pharmaceuticals, home improvement and green cleaning. How does olive oil achieve all this?

From the Fats to the Anti-oxidants

Olive oil has a superb lipid profile. It contains saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are all distributed in healthy proportions. The monounsaturated fats take up the greatest percentage of the fats, at over 75%. In fact, there is no other naturally produced oil that has this high amount of the monounsaturated fats.

This makes it healthy for uptake despite high calorie composition. It contains omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids at the recommended ratio of 8:1. Pressed from olive plant's fruits, it comes with plant-derived phytosterols, vitamins and antioxidants.

Olive Oil and Cholesterol Levels

Olive oil helps by preventing coronary heart disease in people. It lowers the blood cholesterol levels that lead to heart disease and hyperlipidemia. In addition, the regular consumption of olive oil serves to decrease both diastolic and systolic blood pressure, thus preventing both hypertension and stroke. How does this come about?

Olive oil does this by giving one a healthy blood profile. Its calorie content is high, which is attributed to its fat levels. Its monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid and palmitoleic acid serve to increase HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is the good cholesterol, and lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein), stated to be the bad cholesterol, levels in the blood. The oil also increases the antioxidant compound levels in the blood, especially for phenols. Monounsaturated fats move more smoothly through the body and are less likely to clog arteries compared to other types of fat. This greatly benefits the cardiovascular system.

Stroke, being common especially in the elderly, can be easily and inexpensively prevented by regular consumption of olive oil. People exposed to high blood pressure and coronary heart disease factors can equally benefit from the oil. A simple 25ml of virgin olive oil, which is about 2 tablespoonfuls, taken daily for a week will greatly improve one's blood lipid profile. It is a natural means to enhancing health and reducing cholesterol-related ailments.

Used in the Fight against Cancer

Olive oil can do anything from preventing cancer, fighting off cancer to stopping it from recurring. It does this for most types of cancer, from colon, skin to breast cancer. This is in contrast to other vegetable oils.

The oil reduces oncogene p21-Ras activity and prevents damage to the DNA. In addition, it increases the death rate of tumor cells and triggers occurrence of changes in the pathways f protein signalling.

The olive oil also protects the colon from ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic disorder. This disorder leads to inflammation of the large intestine. This is attributed to the oleic acid in the olive oil. The acid blocks chemicals in one's bowel that cause aggravation of the illness' inflammation. A simple 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil taken on a daily basis is enough to provide this protective effect.

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