1. Olive Oil Is Rich in Healthy Monounsaturated Fats
Olive oil is 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 olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, making up 73% of the total oil content.
2. Olive Oil 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 olive oil is also loaded with powerful antioxidants.
These antioxidants are biologically active and may reduce your 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.
3. Olive 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.
4. Olive Oil May Help 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 olive oil and stroke risk has been studied extensively. A large review of studies in 841,000 people found that olive oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat associated with a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease.
5. 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.