Olive oil is an oil that has been extracted from olives, the fruits of the olive tree. In Modern technology, this oil is made by crushing olives and separating the oil from the pulp in a centrifuge. Extra virgin olive oil is 100% natural and high in antioxidants. It is commonly used in cooking, for frying foods or as a salad dressing.
Buying the right kind of oil is extremely important. Extra virgin olive oil retains some of the antioxidants and bioactive compounds from olives. For this reason, it’s considered healthier than the more refined variety of this oil. Even so, there is a lot of fraud on the market, as many oils that read “extra virgin” on the label have been diluted with other refined oils.
The production process is incredibly simple. Olives can be pressed to extract their oil, but modern methods involve crushing the olives, mixing them together, and then separating the oil from the pulp in a centrifuge.
After centrifugation, small amounts of oil remain in the pomace. The leftover oil can be extracted using chemical solvents and is known as olive pomace oil. Olive pomace oil is generally cheaper than regular oil and has a bad reputation.
There are three main grades of oil — refined, virgin, and extra virgin. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed or refined type. This type of oil is considered to be the healthiest. It’s extracted using natural methods and standardized for purity and certain sensory qualities like taste and smell.
Truly extra virgin has a distinct taste and is high in phenolic antioxidants, which is the main reason why it’s so beneficial. Legally, vegetable oils that are labeled as olive oil cannot be diluted with other types of oils. Nevertheless, it’s essential to inspect the label carefully and buy from a reputable seller.
Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive Oil Is Rich in Healthy Monounsaturated Fats
The natural oil extracted from olives, the fruit of the olive tree. About 14% of the oil is saturated fat, whereas 11% is polyunsaturated, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. But the predominant fatty acid in this oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, making up 73% of the total oil content.
Studies suggest that oleic acid reduces inflammation and may even have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. Monounsaturated fats are also quite resistant to high heat, making extra virgin olive oil a healthy choice for cooking.
It Contains Large Amounts of Antioxidants
Extra virgin olive oil is fairly nutritious. Apart from its beneficial fatty acids, it contains modest amounts of vitamins E and K. But the is also loaded with powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants are biologically active and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases. They also fight inflammation and help protect your blood cholesterol from oxidation — two benefits that may lower your risk of heart disease.
This Oil Has Strong Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Chronic inflammation is thought to be a leading driver of diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and even obesity. Extra-virgin olive oil can reduce inflammation, which may be one of the main reasons for its health benefits. The main anti-inflammatory effects are mediated by the antioxidants. Key among them is oleocanthal, which has been shown to work similarly to ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.
Some scientists estimate that the oleocanthal in 3.4 tablespoons (50 ml) of extra virgin olive oil has a similar effect as 10% of the adult dosage of ibuprofen. Research also suggests that oleic acid, the main fatty acid in this oil, can reduce levels of important inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (CRP).
It May Helps Prevent Strokes
Stroke is caused by a disturbance of blood flow to your brain, either due to a blood clot or bleeding. In developed nations, stroke is the second most common cause of death, right behind heart disease. The relationship between the oil and stroke risk has been studied extensively. A large review of studies in 841,000 people found that the oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat associated with a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease.
Olive Oil Is Protective Against Heart Disease
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world. Observational studies conducted a few decades ago showed that heart disease is less common in Mediterranean countries. This led to extensive research on the Mediterranean diet, which has now been shown to significantly reduce heart disease risk. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the key ingredients in this diet, protecting against heart disease in several ways.
This Is Not Associated With Weight Gain and Obesity
Eating excessive amounts of fat causes weight gain. However, numerous studies have linked the Mediterranean diet, rich in the oil, with favorable effects on body weight. In a 30-month study in over 7,000 Spanish college students, consuming a lot of olive oil was not linked to increased weight.
Additionally, one three-year study in 187 participants found that a diet rich was linked to increased levels of antioxidants in the blood, as well as weight loss.
It May Fights Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative condition in the world. One of its key features is a buildup of so-called beta-amyloid plaques inside your brain cells. One study in mice showed that a substance in the oil can help remove these plaques. Additionally, a human study indicated that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil benefitted brain function. Keep in mind that more research is needed on the impact of this oil on Alzheimer’s.
Olive Oil May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Olive oil appears to be highly protective against type 2 diabetes. Several studies have linked this oil to beneficial effects on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. A randomized clinical trial in 418 healthy people recently confirmed the protective effects of the oil. In this study, a Mediterranean diet rich in the oil reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by over 40%.
The Antioxidants in The Oil Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the world. People in Mediterranean countries have a lower risk of some cancers, and many researchers believe that the oil may be the reason. The antioxidants in olive oil can reduce oxidative damage due to free radicals, which is believed to be a leading driver of cancer.
It Can Helps Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by deformed and painful joints. Though the exact cause is not well understood, it involves your immune system attacking normal cells by mistake. Olive oil supplements appear to improve inflammatory markers and reduce oxidative stress in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
Olive Oil Has Antibacterial Properties
Olive oil contains many nutrients that can inhibit or kill harmful bacteria. One of these is Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that lives in your stomach and can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. Test-tube studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil fights eight strains of this bacterium, three of which are resistant to antibiotics.
This oil has antibacterial properties and has been found to be particularly effective against Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacterium that can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.