The health benefits of olive oil are unrivaled, and research reveals more benefits nearly every day. In fact, we are only just beginning to understland the countless ways olive oil can improve our health, and our lives. Olive oil is the cornerstone of theMediterranean diet an essential nutritional mainstay for the world’s longest-living cultures.
Cancer is a common cause of death, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells in the body.
Studies have shown that people in the Mediterranean countries have a fairly low risk of cancer and some have speculated that olive oil has something to do with it.
One potential contributor to cancer is oxidative damage due to free radicals, but extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage .
The oleic acid in olive oil is also highly resistant to oxidation and has been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer .
Many studies in test tubes have shown that compounds in olive oil can help fight cancer at the molecular level.
Whether olive oil actually helps prevent cancer has yet to be studied in human controlled trials.
Healthy fats, including olive oil, have hormone-balancing, anti-inflammatory effects that can prevent neurotransmitter dysfunction. Low-fat diets are often linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety. Mood or cognitive disorders can occur when the brain doesn’t get a sufficient amount of “happy hormones” like serotonin or dopamine, important chemical messengers that are necessary for mood regulation, getting good sleep and thought-processing.
One 2011 study conducted by the University of Las Palmas in Spain found that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat intake had an inverse relationship with depression risk. At the same time, trans-fat intake and depression risk had a linear relationship, showing that higher trans-fat consumption and lower PUFA and MUFA could up the chances of battling mood disorders and treating depression.
Take Home Message
Olive oil is super healthy.
For people with heart disease or at a high risk of getting it in the future, olive oil is most definitely a “superfood.”
However… it is extremely important to get the right stuff. That is, extra virgin olive oil that hasn’t been diluted with cheaper oils.
The benefits of this wonderful fat are among the few things that most people in nutrition actually agree on. Now that’s something you don’t see often.