Olive oil is not only good for cooking but for our health as well. It has many benefits – it helps treat cancer, reduces heart disease risk, alleviate bone problems, and is good for the skin. Read more below to learn about its additional health benefits.

Introduction

Olive Oil Heart

Olive oil is a fat from the olive, a traditional tree crop of Mediterranean Basin. The oil is made by pressing whole olives (R1).

Along with its culinary and religious uses, it also has many health benefits. The phenols in the oil contain most of the beneficial properties.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

1) Olive Oil Helps Treat Cancer

One of the main phenols in olive oil, hydroxytyrosol, possesses antitumor effects due to pro-oxidant properties, the capacity to inhibit the growth of cells, and the promotion of cell death.  Hydroxytyrosol treatment reduced thyroid cancer cells by promoting programmed cell death in those cells (R2).

Higher oil intake may be a protective factor against breast cancer (R3).

Another polyphenol, oleuropein, can cause programmed cell death in breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and thyroid cancer (R4).

Olive oil diets also influenced the expression of age-related changes. Diets can regulate the different susceptibility to chemical exposure leading to breast cancer (R5).

2) Olive Oil Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

The Mediterranean diet uses olive oil as its main source of fat. The ADA recommends using this diet to improve blood sugar control. By following this diet, there is a 20%-23% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (R6).

11 overweight and diabetic patients added olive oil into their diet which significantly reduced fasting blood sugar. Daily consumption can also improve metabolic control in overweight type 2 diabetes patients (R7)

Older adults who were at risk of losing their eyesight due to diabetes were put on a diet containing olive oil. They had a decreased risk of losing their eyesight in comparison to those who did not increase their olive oil intake (R8).

3) Olive Oil Reduces Heart Risk Factors

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165 patients who were at a high risk for heart disease went on a diet that included olive oil. Those patients had decreased blood pressure, total cholesterol, low-density cholesterol, and triglycerides (R9).

Tomato sauce enriched with olive oil has a greater effect on heart risk factors than just raw tomato sauce (R10).

Olive oil enhances the cholesterol-lowering properties of high-density lipids as well as protecting cells from oxidative stress (R11).

In non-smoking women, olive oil decreased blood nitric oxide as well as endothelin-1. This explains the effect of olive oil lowering blood pressure among hypertensive women (R12).

Olive oil increases high-density lipid cholesterol. It also reduces the oxidative damage to lipids, decreases inflammation and improves tissue function (R13).

4)  Olive Oil Helps Treat Metabolic Syndrome

A metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that increases the risk for heart problems, stroke, and diabetes.

A diet enriched with olive oil enhances the blood antioxidant capabilities (R14).

In women, an oil rich diet reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome as well as heart disease (R15).

A combination of olive and fish oil have a synergetic effect on lipid metabolism and oxidative stress in patients (R16).

Additionally, it is likely to cause the reversion of this condition (R17).

5) Olive Oil Reduces the Effects of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Mice that had memory loss had olive oil included in their diet for 8 weeks. Their memory improved, and there was a significant response in the cortex to promote the formation of new cells in the brain. The continuous intake of olive oil may prevent or delay Alzheimer’s (R18).

Alzheimer’s is characterized by the accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) and tau proteins in the brain. In mice, the oil lead to an up-regulation of Aβ degrading enzymes, which helps prevents Alzheimer’s (R19).

6) Olive Oil Alleviates Osteoporosis

It can effectively reduce bone loss in ovariectomized rats (R20).

Additionally, it increased osteoblast cell formation and can be a treatment for bone health (R21).

Oil with vitamins might be beneficial to include in the diet of women to help for bone protection and against oxidative stress (R22).

7) Olive Oil Reduces Depression Symptoms

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Depressed patients were given a diet that included olive oil and evaluated over the time period. They showed a decrease in depression scores (R23).

Olive is a food that is inversely associated with depression risks and improved depressive symptoms (R24).

8) Olive Oil Heals Wounds

Scientists treated mice (who had induced ulcers) with either water or olive oil to help them heal. The oil helped heal the pressure ulcers and improved skin health (R25).

Linear incisions and circular excisions wound models were created in the buccal mucosa of rats to determine the healing effect of olive oil on the wounds. The oil has healing effects in both incisions and excisions as well as anti-inflammatory effects (R26).

Technical

  • Scientists compared hydroxytyrosol against papillary and follicular thyroid cancer cell lines (R2).
  • The benefits that the Mediterranean diet produces for type 2 diabetes are anti-inflammatory and antioxidative. It reduces the production of proinflammatory cytokines while also increasing that of anti-inflammatory cytokines (R7).
  • It additionally and ultimately acts as a barrier to the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and development of atherosclerosis (R7).
  • 11 overweight patients  with type 2-diabetes that do not take insulin followed a diet. They consumed OO in replacement of the normal fats that they used over an eight week time period (R8).
  • 40 health patients randomly had their sauce enriched with OO or with just raw tomatoes on a single occasion for 4 days (R10).
  • 18 women were on either a diet with butter as the fat or a diet with OO as the fat for 28 days (R15).

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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1 COMMENT

  • Jerome

    Is there any study out there, that investigates the effect of olive oil on the omega 3 /6 ratio in humans? I really can’t believe this hasn’t been done so far, since omega 3 is so easy to test in human blood cells. You can even buy a self test kit.

    It would be very important to find out, wether olive oil can increase omega 3 levels despite its high omega 6 content or at least does not have a negative effect on omega 3 ratios in the body. At the moment, I see a dangerous trend of people consuming masses of olive oil. I would not do this before someone tests its effect on omega 3 in the body. So far I have only read good guessing and speculation concerning this matter. It is almost ridiculous that no researcher has ever tested this. If olive oil lowers omega 3, I would cut it from my diet immediatly, since we are all still far away from the ratios of our ancestors which are beloeved to be about 3:1 to 1:1. And since our ancestor’s habits seem to be a very popular field of research lately, I would like to add and ask: Where did they get so much olive oil everyday?

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