Olive Oil Is Having a Moment. Is It the Ultimate Superfood?

If you could only take one pill to lower the risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes, cancer, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and dementia, and the early death rate in general, Would you? The bad news is that no medicine does all of these things. However, if you believe in the information, there’s a food that could be: Extra-virgin olive oil. It might be the most potent superfood.

“There really is no other food that offers this range of benefits,” said Mary Flynn, Ph.D., an associate professor at Brown University who’s been researching olive oil for over 20 years. “There’s no medicine.”

This week, brand new research from Harvard University showed that people who consume more than half a teaspoon per day have an 88% lower risk of dying from dementia than those who do not.

After decades of news-making research, the olive oil bandwagon is full of people. On TikTok, videos on taking daily doses of olive oil have gotten more than one billion views. Several companies now offer ” medical-grade” olive oil with more significant amounts of beneficial substances. The actors Brie Larson and Chloe Grace Moretz use it to cleanse their skin, and Jennifer Lopez credits olive oil and not Botox for her age-defying appearance. This year, Starbucks launched a range of beverage drinks made with high-quality olive oil.

What is the extent of an exaggeration, and how much is back with research?

Olive Oil and Health: The Big Picture

Since the first Seven Countries Study brought attention to the Mediterranean Diet and its generous consumption of olive oil, researchers have been studying the health benefits of this golden liquid. There are a lot of them.

A 2022 study of earlier studies, which covered millions of persons, showed that every 5 grams of food consumed daily- a tiny bit over a teaspoon of food – can lower the risk of death in general by 4 percent.


Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive Oil Basics

The olive oil is made by crushing or pressing whole olives and then collecting the oil that oozes out. Olive oil can be used in a variety of recipes. It is possible to prepare meals with it. You can sprinkle it on bread, pasta, salads, or other foods and use it as a component in baked items. It is also a great ingredient in baking. It is loaded with a variety of health advantages.


Types of Olive Oil

Olive oil is available in three grades, including virgin extra virgin refined (light). They’re categorized according to the processing they undergo before being bottled and sold. Olive oil refined has the highest processing of all three.


Which Is Healthiest?

The olive oil with the minimum amount of processing needed to produce is Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Due to this, EVOO has more nutrients than refined or pure olive oils. For instance, it’s rich in healthy plant nutrients called phytochemicals, which can help fight heart disease and cancer. To get the most from olive oil, go to the EVOO.


Boosts Heart Health

Several studies have demonstrated that adding more olive oil from extra virgin sources in your food reduces the chance of contracting heart disease. The active compounds in EVOO can help lower blood pressure and stop your arterial walls from becoming hard.


Lowers Stroke Risk

Substituting less healthy fats for olive oil in your cooking can reduce the chance of stroke by over 40 percent.


Fights Inflammation

Inflammation within your body leads to chronic illness. Certain antioxidants in EVOO can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, similar to medications like ibuprofen. The oleic acid in olive oil can also be used to treat inflammation.


High in Antioxidants

The free radicals can be unstable molecules in your body, which cause damage to your cells. Antioxidants assist in preventing or slowing the damage caused by free radicals. EVOO is packed with antioxidants that may reduce your risk of contracting diseases.


Zaps Bacteria

Certain nutrients found in olive oil can combat harmful bacteria. Helicobacter pylori is an intestinal bacteria that can cause ulcers and even cancer. The compounds in olive oil can assist in destroying it.


Prevents Cancer

A Mediterranean diet prefers plants over meat and is high in olive oil. Researchers have discovered that those who eat this way are at an increased risk of certain types of cancer, including colorectal, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers and breast and prostate cancers.


Boosts Your Brain

Another benefit of having an olive oil-high Mediterranean diet is that it may help your brain get a boost. Research has shown that a diet high in olive oil could assist you in thinking, comprehending, and retaining more information and can even aid in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.


Extra-virgin olive oil is loaded with polyphenols. They are a potent group of antioxidants that combat inflammation.

“Inflammation is the base of any disease,” explained Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian nutritionist with Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. “So if we look at inflammation as the base, then we can see that olive oil can help with the reduction of a lot of different conditions.”

Researchers have yet to determine exactly how the polyphenols function. However, they’ve observed similar effects across a broad range of subjects.

“As scientist, I’m intrigued about the mechanism? What is the mechanism behind this?” said Tassos Kyriakides, Ph.D., associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health and one of the organizers of Yale’s annually held Symposium on Olive Oil & Health. “But the big picture is do you really care that it’s delivering health benefits at the end of the day? Does anyone who lives in a small village in Sicily really care the way this helps me to be more sharp than ever?”

Olive Oil and Your Heart

The Seven Countries Study looked specifically at cardiovascular diseases. Sixty-five years on, the idea that olive oil is good for your heart is now accepted as a fact due to its rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and polyphenols. The European Food Safety Authority permits extra-virgin olive oils that contain enough polyphenols to put claims about their heart health in their packaging.

“That’s a big, big statement, based on a lot of accumulated evidence,” Kyriakides claims.

Kristin Koval, 53 years old journalist living in Boulder, CO, started taking a daily dose of olive oil three or four years ago. Her family has a history of heart issues caused by genetically low HDL, known as the “good” cholesterol.

“There really isn’t a good drug to bring the level up, and I don’t love to take medicine if I don’t have to,” she explained. “I learned about some foods that can help. I was unable to eat salmon or sardines every day but olive oil are able to incorporate into daily life, and I decided to do.”

Since she began in the past, since she started, her HDL numbers have increased. The numbers have been within an acceptable range in the past two months. “My doctor is happy, and so am I.”

Olive Oil and Your Brain

The new Harvard study of olive oil and the causes of dementia-related deaths is based on earlier research findings. Anne-Julie Tessier, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, presented her findings at the annual conference of the American Society for Nutrition. She explained that they began the research because there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that there is evidence that the Mediterranean Diet helps with cognitive function, the decline in mental capacity, and the risk of developing dementia.

“Olive oil is a significant proportion of the calories in the diet, so it made it very interesting to look at fatal dementia specifically,” she added. Just replacing one teaspoon of mayonnaise or margarine with the exact quantity of olive oil per day decreased the risk of developing dementia by 8 to 14 percent.

Kyriakides also investigated the effects of olive oil on the mind. A small study yielded promising results: Consuming olive oil daily significantly improved the symptoms of dementia for those with mild cognitive impairment.

Olive Oil and Cancer, Diabetes, and More

Although the effects of olive oil on brain health and cardiovascular health have attracted much attention, scientists have found a myriad of advantages:

  • Cancer, A review of the results from 45 research studies showed that those who ate the most virgin olive oil had a 31% less chance of getting cancer than those who ate the most.
  • Type 2 Diabetes The research has proven that eating olive oil with extra-virgin oils will lower blood sugars in the fasting state and also insulin resistance. A study showed that consuming 25 grams of olive oil daily (just less than two tablespoons) lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22%.
  • Relief from pain: Oleocanthal is a polyphenol found in extra-virgin olive oils, offering anti-inflammatory properties comparable to ibuprofen. Kyriakides believes he is living proof of this: Ever since the time he began using only extra-virgin olive oils nine years ago – even when baking and baking – he’s never taken any ibuprofen or any other pain medication, even after having completed triathlons.
  • Skincare The evidence isn’t that clear – nobody has proven that olive oil has the ability to heal acne, for instance – however celebrities might have a point. The phenolic components in olive oil possess greater antioxidant power than vitamin E, a substance that has long been utilized in skincare products, and anti-inflammatory properties are also believed to be beneficial.
  • The health of the gut: Scientists are still starting to get started. However, the results seem promising. “The gut microbiome will see a lot of research activity going forward,” Kyriakides explained. “Anything related to the body’s immune system, it’s the place it’s processed. Healthy environments give an immune system that is healthy that then influences all other aspects of life.”

How to Choose and Use Olive Oil for Your Health

To reap these benefits, it is essential to make use of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). It is the result of the initial pressuring of fruit. It is produced without heating or chemical extractions. Consider it to be the freshly squeezed liquid of an olive. Because it’s so new, it is an excellent source of polyphenols.

There’s no consensus on the dosage. However, most clinical studies aim to mimic what is found in the standard Mediterranean diet of between two and four tablespoons per day. It adds up quite a lot. In Greece, as an example, the average person consumes two liters per month! In America, in the U.S., we average just one liter for the year.

“If we all had two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil a day, we’d be at a liter a month,” says Kyriakides. “That’s a magnitude of difference.”

As per Flynn, benefits take effect in less than three weeks.

Once you’ve learned to look for EVOO, Use these suggestions to select a product that has plenty of the polyphenols that can be beneficial:

  • It is possible to purchase polyphenol-rich olive oil from the grocery store. Costly doesn’t always mean the best, but a low price will certainly not provide the advantages. “Think of the work involved in picking olives, producing the oil, bottling it, and sending it to be sold,” Flynn says. Flynn. “With all that, a standard bottle of 500 ml can’t cost less than $10 for American oil, and from Europe more like $12-15.”
  • To find the best oil in the U.S., check the ingredients list. It should be “California olive oil.” This state sets the highest standards in EVOO than both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture and the International Olive Council, which is a global organization that covers Europe as well as the Mediterranean.
  • One method to identify an excellent bottle is to look for one with a harvest date on the label. The fresh, the more appealing.
  • In addition to the time, temperatures and light are detrimental to EVOO’s quality and taste. Purchase it in metal cans or dark bottles, and then store it in a dry, excellent location. If you need to have it near the stove, you can use an ice cube and refill it whenever required.
  • Phenols can be flavorful! If you refer to your olive oil’s flavor as mild, it’s not EVOO.
  • If the thought of drinking a shot of olive oil in the manner they do in this TikTok footage makes you shiver, don’t worry. Studies have not proven that drinking it straight has more significant advantages. In reality, some vegetables require cooking in oil to get their nutritional value. Roast or saute in EVOO to get twice the benefits.

Are you consuming too many EVOO? For calories, a tablespoon may contain 120 calories. But it appears to be no when it comes to affecting your health in any manner.

“There are no ill effects from extra-virgin olive oil,” Flynn states. “In fact, more benefits can be found with more extra-virgin olive oil.”

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