Nutritional Benefits Of Olive Oil
The olives that are harvested to create extra virgin olive oil come from some of the most beautiful areas of the Mediterranean. This beauty can be deceptive, since the area that is home to olive trees is harsh and rocky. This arid and mountainous area creates one of the most nutritious fruits available to man. The olive is one of nature’s most perfect foods.
Olive oil comes in many grades. The most delicious and most nutritious of these grades is extra virgin olive oil. This oil is extracted from the firm, green olives harvested in early fall. The color of extra virgin olive oil is a pale green or crystal clear and the flavor is unforgettable. Cold presses are used to remove the oil from the olives. No chemicals, dyes or additional processing procedures are needed to create this pure oil. This lack of processing is one of the reasons that olive oil is so nutritious.
Olives contain many vitamins and antioxidants. Olive oil is known for its long list of polyphenols, organic chemicals which offer water-soluble antioxidants. These substances provide the human body with protection from normal exposure to elements like free radicals. Some of the polyphenols which are found in olive oil include chemical categories like trosols, flavones, anthocyanidins and hydroxybenzoic acids. These polyphenol categories offer both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to the body. When consumed in the form of olive oil, the polyphenols are easily digested.
Anti-inflammatory properties are rarely found in a fat. Olive oil is made up of fat calories, but the fat is monounsaturated, which is considered a healthy fat. Many other types of fat can cause the body to increase production of molecules which trigger inflammatory responses. Olive oil has been shown to considerably decrease the production of these molecules when consumed on a regular basis. For the average person, this means that changing from butter to olive oil within their diet can aid in lowering joint swelling and pain from diseases like arthritis.
Olive oil is also beneficial for the human heart. Antioxidants found within olive oil are shown to reduce the risk of heart attack in adults. The oil helps to lower cholesterol levels and protects the blood from molecular damage from oxygen. Olive oil is thought to prevent or help reverse the effects of lipid peroxidation and atherosclerosis. The exchange of butter or margarine for extra virgin olive oil is also known to decrease blood pressure because of the oil’s considerable amount of oleic acid.
Extra virgin olive oil is also praised for its ability to protect the body from certain forms of cancer. Studies have confirmed that diets similar to the Mediterranean style of dieting can help to protect the body from colon cancer and other diseases of the bowels. This is attributed to the large quantities of polyphenols in olive oil, especially the purest forms of the oil. Olive oil is helpful in protecting the body’s very structure or DNA from oxidative stress. Calcium is also more readily absorbed by the human body when olive oil is present in the diet. This absorption helps to create stronger bones and teeth.
Olive oil and its relationship in curing cancer is worthy of exploration. Studies of breast cancer patients have recently shown a decrease in the replication of breast cancer cells when olive oil is present in the diet. This study shows similar results with other forms of cancer. From a scientific view, these results could be a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer patients. If changes in diet can help to reverse the effects of cancer, then these same changes should change many other diseases, as well.
People who live their lives consuming olive oil on a daily basis tend to have better cognitive retention as they age. Longer lives and healthier brains are thought to come from olive oil. The antioxidants which are so numerous in the oil protect the brain over the course of a lifetime. Many researchers are looking toward the Mediterranean diet to help explain this cognitive longevity.
Olive oil might be a miracle food. It has been a part of human culture and consumption for thousands of years. Olive oil’s healthy properties are only just being explored through scientific studies and the future looks bright for this delicious oil.
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