Top 15 Benefits Of Olive Oil

Did you know that olive oil was popularly called ‘liquid gold’ in the ancient world? If you are a culinary expert or are addicted to cooking shows, you must be familiar with olive oil. Most chefs today recommend its use.

The health benefits of olive oil are unrivaled, and research exposes more benefits nearly every day. In fact, we are only just beginning to understand the countless ways olive oil can improve our health, and our lives.

Traditionally boasting low cholesterol, fewer instances of heart disease and very little obesity, the Mediterranean diet has always been defined by the liberal use of extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet – an essential nutritional staple for the world’s longest-living cultures.

“People from the Mediterranean, where olive oil is grown and consumed the most, have the lowest mortality rates in the world when it comes to cardiovascular diseases.”

The average Greek consumes 20 liters a year, compared with just 2 liters per person in Australia, so what other secrets does this nectar of the gods hold?

The benefits of olive oil are many. Weight loss, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, arthritis – you name it, and olive oil has a cure for it.

Scientific Name – Olea europaea
Family – Oleaceae
Native – Mediterranean Basin

The craft of making olive oil has been mastered in the Mediterranean region over thousands of years now. Each grower can have a unique way of tending the trees and producing the oil. The trees are matured for several years before they produce olives.

After the olives are picked, they are thoroughly washed and the leaves, twigs, and stems are removed. Afterwards, they are processed to extract the water and oil, which are then separated. The olive oil is kept in stainless steel containers at about 65 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent breakdown before bottling and shipping.

Extracting oil from olives is better reserved for expert growers and producers, but you can immediately enjoy high-quality olive oil in your salads and other recipes.

Olive oil is extracted from the olive fruit. From ruling our kitchens to taking over the cosmetic world, olive oil has become a rage all over the world in recent times.

When you go shopping, a good variety of olive oils catch your attention. If you are wondering what they are all about, the next few minutes will give you an insight into that.

Virgin Olive Oil – The most prevalent variety, virgin olive oil is a well-known cooking oil with a surprisingly low acid content. It is best suitable for people who want to enjoy the benefits of olive oil without spending a bomb.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Made by cold pressing olive fruit, this oil is considered to be the best for our body. But mind you, not everybody can afford to use extra virgin oil due to its high cost.

Pure Olive Oil  This oil is actually an amalgamation of refined and virgin olive oils. It has a high acidic content, and hence is unsuitable for use.

Lampante Oil – The type that is used only as a fuel and is not suitable for cooking.


Now that you know the types, let’s move on to the benefits.

1. Olive Oil Prevents Strokes

You may not know this but the daily intake of extra virgin oil can help prevent strokes in the elderly (1).

A study has shown that older people who adopted olive oil in their diet were 41% less prone to the risk of strokes. We all know that strokes occur due to blood clot in the blood vessels connecting to the brain, which can even lead to brain damage and, eventually, death. Olive oil helps in reducing these clots, guaranteeing proper blood flow to the brain.

Researchers gathered information from the medical records of 7,625 individuals over the age of 65 from three cities in France: Bordeaux, Dijon and Montpellier. None of the participants had a history of stroke. They then categorized the individuals into three groups based on their olive oil consumption. The researchers noted that the participants used mostly extra virgin olive oil, as that is what is usually available in France.

After 5 years there were 148 strokes. The results showed that the “intensive” users of olive oil, those that used for both cooking and dressings had a 41 percent lower risk of stroke compared to those that did not use olive oil at all. These results were noted even after considering weight, diet, physical activity and other risk factors.

2. Keeps the Heart Young!

A diet rich in olive oil may in fact be able to slow down the aging of the heart.

It is a known fact that as we grow older the heart also goes through a regular aging process. The arteries may not function as well as they did and this can lead to a number of health problems. However, in a recent study, Spanish researchers discovered that a diet rich in olive oil or other monounsaturated fats could improve the arterial function of elderly individuals.

3. Controls Cholesterol

You can lower the levels of bad cholesterol in your body by using olive oil.

Olive oil contains minimum levels of saturated and polyunsaturated fats. This property gives it the ability to regulate blood cholesterol levels in the body. Olive oil contains the highest level of monounsaturated fat – around 75-80%, which assists in building good cholesterol and HDL in the body.

Oh no, we are not stating this fact without scientific proof.

Research conducted at the University of Minnesota has shown that while Greek, Cretan, and other Mediterranean population consumed almost as much dietary fat as Americans, they had considerably lower rates of heart disease. The difference is being pointed to the Mediterranean’s consumption of extra virgin olive oil.

Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain found in a study that an extra virgin olive oil rich diet lowered the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body. It is also associated to an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol in the human body.

4. It Strengthens the Immune System. Helps Prevent Breast & Skin Cancer

Overloaded with antioxidants – vital for strengthening and protecting your immune system – extra virgin olive oil may help you become more resistant to infection. This wide range of vital antioxidants isn’t found in other oils.

In a Saudi Arabian study, it was found that oleuropein, a natural compound found in olive leaf, has potential anti-breast cancer properties (2).

In another clinical trial conducted in Spain, it was found that women who consumed a diet containing olive oil were 62 percent less likely to contract breast cancer (3).

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5. Olive Oil Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Eating extra virgin olive oil as part of a balanced diet may help prevent or postpone the onset of diabetes. Traditionally a low-fat diet has been prescribed to prevent various diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

While studies have shown that high fat diets may increase the risk of certain diseases such as cancer and diabetes, it appears that it is the type of fat that counts rather than the amount of fat. We now know that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as the ones found in olive oil, nuts and seeds actually shields from many of these chronic diseases.

A study published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care indicated that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil lessened the risk of type II diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet. Type II diabetes is the most common and avertible form of diabetes.

6. Increases Mental Agility & Prevents Alzheimer’s

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, which research suggests helps prevent or slow down the cognitive decline associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s.

According to the Scientific American, oleocanthal in olive oil can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease (4). Olive oil polyphenols are known to be powerful antioxidants which may help to reverse oxidative damage that occurs in the aging process.

The American Chemical Society has also come up with similar findings (5). (6).

7.  Strengthens Bones & Fights Osteoporosis

If you thought calcium alone made your bones strong… here’s news - olive oil too can strengthen the bones.

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass, which in turn causes the architecture of bone tissue to become fragile. This can then increase the possibly of fractures, making even the slightest of knocks potentially fatal for sufferers.

Olive oil supplementation was found to positively affect the thickness of bones. Olive oil will not be the only solution in the ongoing fight against postmenopausal osteoporosis, however scientists have concluded that it is a very promising candidate for future treatments of the disease.

In a study that involved men consuming a Mediterranean diet, it was found that olive oil might contribute to strong bones. Their blood was found to contain higher levels of osteocalcin, which was an indication of healthy bone formation (7), (8).

8. Weight Loss Secret Weapon

Losing weight was never this easy. What if you could lose weight while snacking on your favorite food? No kidding here!

Twenty litres of extra virgin olive oil every year and most Mediterraneans still aren’t fat. According to Leandro Ravetti, Chief Oil Maker of the award-winning Cobram Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oils, a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil may deliver greater and longer lasting weight loss results than a low-fat diet.

Have your favorite Italian pasta or a salad drizzled with olive oil and watch yourself go from flab to fab.

A study published in the Harvard School of Public Health had supported the efficacy of olive oil in aiding weight loss. The weight loss that ensued due to two different types of diets (a moderate-fat Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil, and a lowfat diet) were compared. By the end of the study, only 20 percent of the volunteers in the low-fat group were still following the diet.

9. Relieves Constipation

Use olive oil as a remedy for constipation. Olive oil benefits the gastrointestinal tract and colon (9). The consistency and texture of olive oil help in stimulating your digestive system, making food proceed smoothly through the colon. When you take this oil on a regular basis, it helps in completely preventing constipation.

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats (10). This helps in increasing mobility so that food can move through the colon without any problem. It also helps in speeding up bowel evacuation and prevents constipation.

This oil is rich in vitamins E and K, iron, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and antioxidants. These nutrients improve your overall health, including the digestive tract, and help prevent constipation as well.

10. Benefits the Digestive System

Unlike other types of vegetable oil, extra virgin olive oil is easy on your stomach. It works as a protective shield for those suffering from ulcers and other gastritis issues. When consumed in its natural form, the olive oil induces the production of bile and the pancreatic hormones in a natural manner, more than any other medicine or prescribed drugs. What’s more, it helps lower the chances of gallstone formation.

11. It’s Good for Your Sex Life

Ever wondered why all the great love stories originated from Italy – the land of olive oil?

It’s no surprise that olive oil is an excellent aphrodisiac (11). No wonder the greatest lover in history was Italian: extra virgin olive oil may even improve your sex life. Casanova must have had excellent circulation for all those conquests; A proper massage with olive oil enhances blood circulation to all parts of the body, including the sex organs.

12. Skin Saviour

This oil is comprised of a good amount of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the skin from a number of external factors like the harsh sunrays or the wind (12), (13). The light texture of olive oil makes it a perfect non-sticky moisturizer that stays for long and suits all skin types (14).

 If you have dry skin, apply the oil to your face before going to bed, and let it stay on overnight. You can remove the oil in the morning with the help of a gentle face wash and some warm water.

13. Treats Depression

We all have our share of mood swings. Our state of mind depends on a lot of things. Thankfully, there are a few foods that act as antidepressants. And you can count olive oil among them. According to Spanish researchers from the University of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a diet rich in olive oil can protect from mental illness.

Researchers recently discovered that a higher intake of olive oil and polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish and vegetable oils was associated with a lower risk of depression. The findings suggested that cardiovascular disease and depression may share some common mechanisms related to one's diet.

Olive oil can increase the levels of serotonin, the brain chemical. This, it has been found, is similar to the effect of some antidepressants.

14. Anti-inflammatory & Pain Relief

Extra virgin olive oil contains a substance called oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory agents, meaning olive oil is like a natural Ibuprofen. Research increasingly suggests inflammation impacts a number of chronic diseases, so olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties grow more compelling all the time.

15. Longevity & Reducing Mortality Risk

Researchers continue to endorse that the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, is one of the best ways to lower the risk of all-cause mortality.1 Those who adhere to a Mediterranean diet have a longer life expectancy and a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, along with various phenolic compounds such as oleocanthal, oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol.  These substances are believed to modulate nearly 100 human genes and in turn, cell signaling and age-associated processes.

The Mediterranean diet has long been shown to have pro-longevity effects, but the degree to which its greater use of olive oil contributes to this effect has not been established. However, a recent study focused on the specific, individual role that olive oil plays in this association.

Scientists analyzed data from a large, prospective study that followed 40,622 participants aged 29 to 69 for a combined total of over 550,000 person-years.

They observed an impressive 26% reduction in mortality among healthy adults in the upper quartile of olive oil consumption compared to non-consumers. Even a relatively small increase in olive oil consumption was shown to have a beneficial effect. The impact on the risk of death was similar for the use of both regular olive oil and virgin olive oil.

The pathway by which olive oil reduces mortality is uncertain. However, it may flow from its protective effect on the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer that we mentioned above.

In conclusion:

Since extra virgin olive oil assists in the prevention and/or reduced impact of so many diseases – including certain cancers – it’s no exaggeration to say it may even help you live longer. Not bad for something that’s also delicious.

Recommended brands

  • Kirkland Signature Extra Virgin Olive Oil (US) (CAN)








  • Mantova Garlic Organic Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil (US) (CAN)








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