Extra virgin olive oil has recently been touted as a "genius food" by Max Lugavere, a well-studied health and science journalist. EVOO's chemical components support this new standard given to our prized "liquid gold". We've put together the top 5 health benefits of extra virgin olive oil to help you understand just how good this stuff is for us.
5 Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Increased Brain Longevity
EVOO is linked to brain longevity because of many components that make up this gorgeous oil. For starters, the phenol known as oleocanthal is a very powerful antioxidant that encourages the body's innate repair mechanisms. We can taste this specific antioxidant when trying a more robust olive oil - one that comes from olives that were pressed early in the harvest season - it will leave a very peppery feeling in the back of the throat, you may even cough after trying it. Research explains that using EVOO as a preventative measure can maintain cognitive function and in some cases even improve cognitive function once decline has begun. Oleocanthal may also stimulate the enzymes that breakdown amyloid plaque (a marker of Alzheimer's Disease), it may improve synapse integrity and reduce neuro-inflammation.
2. Rich Source of Monounsaturated Fats
Fat composition rather than fat level is important for longevity and that not all fatty acids have the same effect on health.-Anne Brunet, Stanford University
3. Strengthens the Cardiovascular System
Olive oil has been consumed for thousands of year all over the globe, but when we zoom in on the Mediterranean region of the world, we find that extra virgin olive oil is consumed in rather high amounts on a daily basis, it just so happens that this region of the world also has extremely low rates of heart disease. Coincidence? I think not! EVOO has impressive evidence when it comes to protecting the heart and cardiovascular system. The potent antioxidants in EVOO are what makes this oil so good for us - as mentioned above, they are strongly anti-inflammatory, they help correct improper cholesterol levels, they strengthen the integrity of the blood vessels, they lower blood pressure and can prevent unwanted clotting in the blood.
4. High in Plant-Derived Vitamin E & Vitamin K
Extra virgin olive oil contains rather strong ratios of both Vitamin E and Vitamin K, two fat-soluble vitamins that play an important role in our well-being - convenient that nature provides it to us already packaged in the fat of extra virgin olive oil, so our bodies can readily absorb these vitamins!
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the cells from free radical damage. It supports healthy, strong hair and skin and even supports a balancing of our hormones! From just one tablespoon of EVOO, you are getting 10% of your daily recommended value of vitamin E.
Vitamin K is a vitamin necessary to heart health, specifically to the reduction of clotting in the blood. It has also been linked to a reduction in Alzheimers, type 2 diabetes, and other insulin resistant syndromes. Vitamin k is even associated in being effective against fighting certain types of cancers! Powerful stuff, huh?
5. It is Strongly Anti-Inflammatory
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the richest natural oils in antioxidants, and not just any old antioxidants, but some of the most powerful ones when it comes to inflammation. Oleocanthal, oleacein, oleuropein aglycon, ligstroside aglycon and quite a few more polyphenols are responsible for inhibition of inflammatory prostaglandins leading to anti-inflammtory benefits and reduced pain. It has been said that 25 ml of EVOO is comparable to a small dose of ibuprofen when taken for pain and inflammation consistently (daily).
We hope this breakdown of health benefits helped you to understand why extra virgin olive oil is actually so, so, so, SO good for you!
Let us know what you think in the comments below!