The olive tree has always been valued as a symbol of peace and happiness and is more famously referred to as the blessed tree. Olives are one of the oldest foods known to man, dating back some thousands of years in the Mediterranean region. Olives are not only used as food but also used for medicinal purposes. Olive oil is in fact treated as perfect oil for cooking purposes.
How good is Olive Oil?
he greatest exponent of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, and it is a prime component of the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is – freshly pressed from the fruit!
The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of ant oxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels. No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.
Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil’s protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.
Olives, Olive leaves and Olive oil is very good for health and imparts following health benefits:
- Protection against heart diseases: Olive oil is a rich source of Omega-3 and omega -6 types of fatty acids which are very good for heart and help in prevention of heart diseases.
- Protection against cancers: Studies have shown that regular use of olive oil significantly decreases the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. This activity of the olive oil is related to the fact that there is abundance of monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid in olives. This acid lowers the production of prostaglandins there by preventing cancer risk.
- Anti-oxidants in olive oil help in delaying ageing: Olive oil contains the highest proportion of anti-oxidants which protect the body from the damaging activity of free radicals. The antioxidants found in olive oil are: Vitamin E, carotenoids (vitamin A) and phenolic compounds. The antioxidants also help in preventing the damage caused by ageing, thus helping us to look young. Olive oil is the only oil which is extracted from a fruit. Thus it has some of the goodness of fruits. It is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins just like fruits are.
- Controlling high blood pressure: Regular use of olive oil has shown to decrease both systolic and diastolic pressures. This could be related to the fact that olive oil reduces the risk of developing arthrosclerosis.
- Providing diabetes control: Regular use of olive oil improves blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity. The property of olive oil to lower levels of bad cholesterol and increase the levels of good cholesterol(HDL) further helps in preventing the development of coronary artery disease in diabetic patients.
- Strengthening of immune system– regular use of olive oil strengthens the immune system thus protecting the body against various infections.
- Reduces Obesity: It has been shown that diets rich in olive oil lead to greater and longer-lasting weight loss in comparison to a low-fat diets.
- Pregnancy and lactation: Consumption of olive oil by the mother during pregnancy and lactation supplies the baby with a very important nutrient i.e. vitamin E. Olive oil helps in proper growth and development.
- Reducing the risk of osteoporosis: Consumption of olive oil by postmenopausal women reduces the risk of development of osteoporosis and bony fractures.
- Benefits to skin: Presence of a large quantity of anti-oxidants in olive oil protects the skin from damage by free radicals. Thus it delays the process of ageing.
- Effects on memory– Eating a diet rich in olive oil helps slowing down the age related memory loss.
So many health benefits with a single inclusion of olives in your diet! Can you really ignore the benefits of olive?