Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats that offer many health benefits. Some of the healthiest people in the world have included Italian extra virgin olive oil as a dietary staple in their Mediterranean diet for thousands of years.
Olive oil is the natural oil that’s extracted from olives. Approximately 20-25 percent of the oil contains saturated fats, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but 70-80 percent of olive oil contains a healthy, monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid. Avocado oils, sunflower oils and safflower oils are also rich in oleic acid, but they don’t contain more than 70 percent. Canola oil contains approximately 60-65 percent of monounsaturated fats, while corn oil drops to 25-30 percent. Coconut oil, considered healthy by many people, only contains about 5-7 percent of healthy monounsaturated fats.
The high level of monounsaturated fats in olive oil provides health benefits for numerous body functions. Medical research shows that people who use olive oil, rather than butter which is high in saturated fats, live a longer, healthier life with fewer diseases and serious health problems. Research shows that oleic acid helps to reduce chronic inflammation, a major contributor to many diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even obesity. Take a look at some health benefits of extra virgin olive oil:
* Pain Relief – Extra virgin olive oil contains anti-inflammatory agents that can help to reduce chronic pain associated with arthritis and other diseases. Adding it to your diet may reduce the need for prescription and over-the-counter pain relief drugs.
* Mental Awareness – The monounsaturated fat in extra virgin olive oil can help to slow down and even prevent the decline of cognitive function associated with brain diseases. In countries with Mediterranean diet, there are fewer cases of strokes and Alzheimer’s.
* Healthy Insulin Levels – Including extra virgin olive oil in your diet can help to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by establishing healthy insulin levels. High and unstable blood sugar levels that rise and fall contribute to diabetes.
* Healthy Arteries – Extra virgin olive oil helps to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels. Lower cholesterol promotes healthy blood flow and helps to prevent clogged arteries that can lead to heart problems.
* Stronger Immune System – Antioxidants are essential to protect and strengthen your immune system and help you fight infections. Extra virgin olive oil contains a wide range of important antioxidants that are not found in other oils.