Surely you have already heard somewhere that olive oil has many health benefits. We'll make that clear right now; It is true, provided that your olive oil is extra virgin and of high quality!
Well known in terms of "good fat", extra virgin olive oil has long been the well-kept secret of the Mediterranean peoples. Today, it is consumed around the world for its many benefits. A quality extra virgin olive oil will contain a lot of polyphenols, a molecule found in large quantities in plant foods, such as chocolate and red wine. These molecules act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, making foods that contain them beneficial to health. Thanks to vitamins A, E, D and K also contained in extra virgin olive oil, it contributes to longevity by strengthening the cells of the body and reducing cell damage.
In countries where extra virgin olive oil is the main fat consumed, heart problems have a low incidence among the population. A diet rich in olive oil helps avoid excessive clotting and prevents the formation of blood clots and platelet aggregation. It lowers the risk of blood pressure as well as the blood pressure itself.
A diet high in animal fat creates a well-known problem, blood cholesterol, one of the main factors in cardiovascular disease. There is a difference between “bad” cholesterol, which is atherogenic and damages the walls of blood vessels, and “good” cholesterol, which protects against the development of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, olive oil lowers bad cholesterol levels, thus playing a protective role while stimulating the elimination of “bad cholesterol”.
According to Borhane Annabi, professor in the Department of Chemistry and holder of the Chaire en prévention et traitement du cancer at l’UQAM, “[…]the polyphenols in extra-virgin olive oil have the ability to slow down the progression of a cancerous tumor and possibly reduce the risk of recurrence by targeting the molecular mechanisms responsible for it”. Another study from the City University of New York has shown that certain antioxidant compounds in olive oil prevent certain types of cancer, such as colon and bowel cancer. A diet rich in extra virgin olive oil also helps women protect themselves against breast cancer. Some very promising current research demonstrates protection offered by olive oil against leukemia in children.
Extra virgin olive oil has several other benefits:
- It helps to prevent and fight certain skin problems, such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.
- It has positive effects on calcification and mineralization of bones, thus playing a great role in the prevention of osteoporosis.
- It greatly improves cognitive function, in that it prevents memory loss and cognitive decline.
- It reduces gastric reflux and promotes digestion and absorption of food in the intestine.
Consult our article “Demystifying olive oil” to find out how to recognize a quality extra virgin olive oil and thus be able to take advantage of its many benefits.