The 10 Biggest Benefits of Olive Oil

By Lisa Shanken | Blog

The benefits of olive oil have been proclaimed far and wide. Even if you are already aware of some of them, this list goes through the most interesting facets of olive oil. If you aren't a fan of olive oil already, I think this post may more than convince you to incorporate olive oil into your diet.

1. There Are 4 Types of Olive Oil

Use olive oil as much as possible.

Olive oil is made by pressing the core of olives to extract the oil, and extra virgin olive oil is made with the first press. Because olive oil is expensive, it's often used sparingly to drizzle over carpaccio, bruschetta and other Italian delicacies or salads where the oil can really be tasted. When looking for quality "E-V-O-O," go for the cold pressed variety, as heat can change the taste.

The second type, virgin olive oil, is a bit more acidic and good for when you want a tart flavor for pomodoro sauces or maybe even a quick pasta with fresh tomatoes, lemon juice and a good Parmigiano Reggano.

Pure olive oil, despite its name, is actually a blend of refined leftovers from the virgin olive oil extraction process and virgin olive oil. It's cheaper, so it's best for frying.

Light olive oil is actually the worst quality, so watch out for bottle labels that say '100% pure olive oil.'

2. Olive Oil is the Only All-Natural Vegetable Oil
Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as is, ready to be consumed fresh and straight from the olive press. No heat or chemicals are required in the extraction process, so if you buy extra virgin or virgin olive oil, you should feel safe with the quality of the final product.

3. Olive Oil is Rich in Vitamins
Olive oil is a rich source of vitamin A, B-1, B-2, C, D, E, K, iron and Omega-9 (oleic acid).

4. Olive Oil Helps Promote Beautiful Skin
In ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, olive oil was known as the 'beauty oil.' Applied to the skin, it can lock in moisture, provide elasticity, promote a smooth and radiant complexion, soften cuticles and reduce dry, brittle nails. The fatty acids from the oil are absorbed into the skin and can give you a rosy Mediterranean glow.

5. Olive Oil Prevents Certain Types of Cancers
Researchers have found that olive oil can help prevent the spread of skin cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer by inhibiting tumor growth.

6. Olive Oil is Good For Digestion
I'm sure you or a relative have suffered from gallstones, ulcers or gastritis. You'll be pleased to know that olive oil protects against all of them by helping the body secrete the right hormones, and by coating the stomach with a temporary, but effective lining.

7. Olive Oil Helps Alzheimer's Sufferers
For many people Alzheimer's is a terrible illness with devastating effects. Many Alzheimer's patients who have switched to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil have made significant improvements, such as prolonging their lifespan and strengthening their brain function. Alzheimer's is closely related to clogged arteries, which is due to cholesterol and saturated fats. Current medical research has actually that cholesterol is actually more harmful than fat. Naturally, olive oil, which completely lacks cholesterol, is a good choice for any health conscious individual, Alzheimer's sufferer or otherwise.

Olive oil has no cholesterol.

8. Olive Oil Does Not Contain Cholesterol
The best benefit that you get from olive oil is that it is cholesterol-free.  A diet with olive oil lowers harmful LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels. It also has anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, anti-hypertensive as well as vasodilatory effects.

9. Olive Oil Has The Healthiest Of Fats
Monounsaturated fat could be called olive oil's middle name; the health buzzword that it's most associated with. Diet with considerable monosaturated fat is linked with the reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease and the promotion of “good” HDL cholesterol.

10. Olive Oil Lowers The Risk Of Heart Attacks
The high polyphenol oxidant property of olive oil increases arterial elasticity, which reduces cardiovascular stress and the risk for a heart attack and stroke.

No, I Wasn't Talking About Popeye's Girlfriend
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