The health benefits of Olive Oil are well known. It is the only oil that contains a lot of good cholesterol (HDL) compared to bad cholesterol (LDL). The ratio of good to bad cholesterol is 100. 100 means that the amount of good: bad cholesterol is 100:0.
Derived from the fruits of an olive tree, olive oil is exceptionally famous for its healthy composition. This oil is nothing but a gift from the heavens for people with cardiovascular diseases. The reason for that is its rich antioxidant property.
The health benefits of olive oil and its uses are vast, from cooking to cosmetics. Also, its use in medicine is well known. It is a staple in the Mediterranean diet and for many healthy reasons including a longer life expectancy by reducing the risk of CVD.
The variety and types of oils present for use are unimaginable. Despite this, olive oil has been classified as the healthiest oil available. It just gets bonus points for its various uses and benefits. One of such benefits includes the prevention of cellular damage in the body by its antioxidant characteristics.
Olive oil is the healthiest oil
Research has suggested that polyphenols present in the extra virgin olive oil can have an impact in protecting against atherosclerosis, CVD, stroke, and cancer. [Ref]
For decades, people have preferred olive oil over other oils for its healthy composition, and here is a description of how olive oil is healthier than other oils.
Vitamins and Minerals content in Olive Oil:
In the list of many benefits of olive oil, its vitamin and mineral composition is exceptional. Containing a good amount of vitamin E and vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron this oil aids in proper body functioning. Especially for calcium, olive oil has a higher content of calcium than peanut oil or walnut oil.
Vitamin E is known for improving eye health, preventing coronary diseases and inflammation, and supporting a healthy immune system. Whereas, vitamin K plays a role in bone metabolism, maintaining serum calcium levels, and blood clotting.
Potassium can be helpful in regulating nerve impulses and signals, maintaining the body’s fluid balance and muscle contraction. Iron is a critically important mineral in our body that serves a role in growth and development and in the regulation of body temperature.
Hemoglobin is a vital protein in our body, its production requires iron. Calcium is required for strengthening bones and nerve transmission in the heart and muscles. Magnesium is useful for its anti-inflammatory benefits and regulating muscles and nervous functions.
This combination of vitamins and minerals makes olive oil a healthier option as compared to other oils.
Fatty acid composition of Olive oil compared to other oils:
No property of olive oil can make it stand out more than its fatty acid profile. Generally, the main reason why people prefer it over other oils is this one.
By fatty acid profile we mean, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Almost 73% of the entire oil composition is monounsaturated fatty acids while polyunsaturated fatty acids make up for only 11% of its content.
It has the highest content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. As compared to the normal cooking oil (e.g., vegetable oil) olive oil is richer in beneficial fatty acids.
Now the benefit of MUFA is that it is related to reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. A specific monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid can decrease inflammation. It helps with reducing the total cholesterol content and LDL (low-density lipoprotein).
Rich in Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Compounds present in Olive Oil:
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants. Especially the extra virgin olive oil. These antioxidants fight oxidative stress which aids in reducing the potential risks of chronic disorders. They maintain your cholesterol in a normal range.
Extra virgin olive oil is also filled with anti-inflammatory compounds like tocopherols and polyphenols.
Vegetable oil and other oils like canola oil are not rich sources of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants.
Processing of Olive Oil:
When oil is extracted from a plant source, it is processed in order to remove harmful elements. They are purified so that their shelf life can be enhanced. This method leaves the oil with fewer nutrients and flavor.
Olive oil is not as processed as other oils as it is made from the extracts of pressed olives, which is a distinctive feature. If we take an example of vegetable oil, it is typically a mix of different oils including canola and sunflower, etc. Therefore, it is quite a processed oil and not fit for use.
Olive Oil Has a More Versatile Flavor:
The more an oil is processed the more it loses its flavor. As stated above, olive oil is one of the least processed oils which enables it to retain its olive flavor. Oils that are processed usually taste bland.
Olive Oil is Good for Heart Health:
As we know that olive oil is infused with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is famous for lowering bad LDL. This classifies it as the healthiest oil for heart patients. Being loaded with antioxidants, olive oil is a preferable option.
Since olive oil is a typical ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, there is a lesser incidence of cardiovascular disorders found in people who consume this diet.
Olive oil health benefits for Weight Loss:
Even though high-fat consumption can definitely lead to weight gain. People who are attempting to lose weight need to eat healthily. No option is healthier than olive oil for this purpose.
Olive oil is full of nutrients and has been used as a salad dressing and for other cooking purposes but it does not induce weight gain.
Health benefits of Olive Oil for Combatting Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia:
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the formation of plaques in or around brain cells. These plaques are made of protein (amyloid). Olive oil is beneficial in improving cognitive functioning.
Research has found that a phenolic element of extra virgin olive oil called ‘oleocanthal’ has been associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. [ref]
Anti-cancer Effects of Olive Oil:
Because olive oil is full of antioxidants that are capable of fighting oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a leading cause of cancer. People consuming MedDiet are less prone to cancers, which might be because of olive oil.
Vegetable oils and other oils do not have the same protective effect in the face of cancer.
Research showed that olive oil can be helpful in protecting against breast cancer due to oleic acid (main MUFA in olive oil). [ref]