Do you know why olive oil is considered a staple in the Mediterranean diet? Olive oil is rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins that offer numerous health benefits. If you’re looking for a healthy oil that can help you reduce the risk of several health issues, then olive oil should be on your list. I’ll discuss the top seven health benefits of olive oil. Let’s get started!
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1. It Reduces Abdominal Fat
One of the reasons olive oil is so beneficial is that it helps to reduce abdominal fat, which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. According to scientists, consuming half a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on an empty stomach in the morning can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce abdominal fat.
2. It Lowers Blood Pressure
Olive oil contains anti-hypertensive properties, which means it can help lower blood pressure. Besides, the polyphenols in olive oil improve the circulation of blood flow, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Most importantly, research suggests that consuming two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily can significantly decrease blood pressure.
3. Ease Constipation
Those who suffer from constipation can benefit from consuming olive oil. Since olive oil has a laxative effect, it can help soften stool and promote regular bowel movements. One tablespoon of olive oil on an empty stomach is enough to get the laxative effect.
4. It Fights Inflammation
Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to fight inflammation in the body. Specifically, researchers have found that the phenolic compound oleocanthal in olive oil can reduce the production of inflammatory markers in the body. Furthermore, some studies suggest that consuming extra virgin olive oil can help to reduce joint pain and stiffness in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Antibacterial Properties
Several studies have reported that olive oil has antibacterial properties that help fight infections. Most researchers have found that the polyphenols (oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol) found in olive oil can help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Due to its antibacterial properties, olive oil is commonly used as a natural remedy for skin infections and wound healing.
6. It Boosts Brain Health
Olive oil is also great for your brain. Due to its high levels of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, olive oil can help to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults. Additionally, olive oil may even help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease because of oleuropein aglycone, a polyphenol found in olive oil.
7. Reduces the Signs of Aging
When applied to your skin, antioxidants in olive oil can help reduce the signs of aging. Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant in olive oil, can help protect your skin from sun damage, improve skin elasticity, and prevent wrinkles. Moreover, the fatty acids in olive oil can help keep your skin moisturized and promote healing. Similarly, when consumed, olive oil can decrease oxidative stress, which helps to slow down the aging process.
8. Improves Heart Health
As I explained earlier, olive oil is rich in healthy fats, including monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These components can help reduce your bad LDL cholesterol levels while increasing your good HDL cholesterol levels. This helps to protect against heart disease by decreasing your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are numerous reasons why you should incorporate olive oil into your daily diet. Specifically, olive oil can help decrease abdominal fat, relieve constipation, reduce the signs of aging, and boost heart and brain health. Therefore, if you want to enjoy these health benefits, make sure to include olive oil in your meals regularly. Apart from that, be mindful of the amount you consume as it still contains calories. So, as a general rule of thumb, use it sparingly but frequently.