Many claims are made for the health benefits of consuming olives and olive oil. These are usually associated with studies of the Mediterranean diet, itself based on the dietary traditions of Italy and Greece. Oilve Oil is 98 per cent fat, but some these fats are "healthy" and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease - diseases of the heart and circulatory system. Olive Oil also contains the antioxidant vitamins A,C and E.
Olive oil contains high levels of mono- andpolyunsaturated fats, both known to confer important health benefits, while animal fats are high in saturated fats, know to increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
Blood contains important compounds called lipoproteins, which carry fats and cholesterol around the body. Theere are two types of lipoproteins: low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), and high-density lipoproteins (HDLs). LDLs are unhealthy because they deposit fat and cholesterol in the body tissues; HDLs are beneficial because they prevent the formationof fatty deposits in arteries by removing free cholesterol from the tissues and carrying them to the liver to be eliminated. Cholestrol is a major component of every cell in the body, especially the brain and nervous system, but extra, or free, cholesterol accumlates from a fatty deposit within blood vessels (atherosclerosis). The high monounsaturated-fat content of olive oil helps to lower the levels of LDLs and other fats in the blood, without reducing the HDL levels. There also seems to be a relationship between olive oil and blood pressure. The exact reasons are not understood but is clamed that the regular consumption of olive oil decreases both systolic and distolic blood pressure.
Olive oil therefore reduces the risk of developing heart disease, and helps prevent recurrence in anyone recovering from a heart attack. As olive oil helps to raise HDL levels, lower triglycerides, and moderate blood sugar, it can also help to prevent the onset of diabetes.As an Antioxidant
Antioxidant are substances that slow down neutralize the efects of chemicals in the environment that react with, and damage, the boby cells. The antioxidizing properties of olives can be transferred to human cells so that they deteriorate more slowly. Antioxidants are also said to increase longevity and slow down skin ageing. Some researchers claim that olive oil has a measurable effect in preventing the cancers that are associated with diet, notably colon, prostate, and breast cancers. This may be explained by the way oleic acid lowers the production of prostaglandins or by the effect of antioxidants, phytochemicals such as flavonoids, polyphenols, and squalence found in extra virgin olive oil.Other Health Benefits
Olive oil is thought to help calcium absorption and thus act against osteoporosis. More importantly, it is said to insure against memory loss, congnitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's disease in the elderly. This may be related to the brain's need for monounsaturated acids to maintain its cell structure and membranes.
A recent study in the Unitedd States found that olive oil contained a natural chemical that acts in a similar way to a painkiller. The chemical, oleocanthal, was found to inhibit inflammation in the same way as ibuprofen and other antiinflammatory drugs.
The evidence is incontrovertible: olive oil protects against iilness and delivers longevity. It should be said, through, that the claims for the beneficial properties of olive oil apply largely to fresh extra virgin olive and not to oil that has been refined or used for cooking, as heat destroys many of the phenols and other compunds found in olive oil.
Some valuable information most people aren't aware of is that Olive oil is beneficial when used as a tanning oil. Rubbed on exposed areas, olive oil protects skin from harmful UVA rays and sunburns. Olive oil is also effective on peptic ulcers, bone development, nervous system development, and acts as antioxidants to keep the brain alert as we mature and grow older. Some cancers have actually been reduced in number (e.g., breast & ovarian cancer), in the Mediterannean due to olive oil consumption. There are also claims that Olive oil is a natural mosquito repellent too. With all the great benefits of Olive Oil, it makes one want to go out and buy the whole lot.
The information has been taken form the book Olive Oil by Charles Quest-Ritson
1 - Olive oil protects against heart disease - "Olive oil's heart effect located"
'Scientists say they have pinpointed the micronutrients in olive oil that make it a good heart protector.' 'Virgin or extra virgin olive oils are best because they have the highest phenol content, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports' - Hospital Universitario Reina Sofia, Cordoba (Spain)
2 - Alzheimer's - "How you can take brain health to heart"
'Studies have shown that high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol clogs the arteries and is associated with higher risk for Alzheimer's disease. Use mono and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil. - Alzheimer's Association
3 - "Olive Oil Could Help Fight Colon Cancer"
'Researchers at the University of Ulster have found new evidence of the link between virgin olive oil and healthy living.' 'The team of researchers ….. concluded that a mixture of compounds, called phenols, extracted from virgin olive oil could safeguard against colon cancer. Colon cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the Western world - and the second highest cause of cancer death in the US.' - University of Ulster
4 - "Virgin olive oil may protect against skin cancer"
'Scientists now say an application of virgin olive oil after sunbathing may protect against skin cancer.' - Kobe University School of Medicine
5 - "Olive Oil Seems To Protect Against Bowel Cancer"
'Olive oil seems to protect against bowel cancer, suggests research involving 28 countries in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.' - Center for the Advancement of Health
6 - "Northwestern Study Shows Why Olive Oil Protects Against Breast Cancer"
'Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid contained in olive oil, can cripple a cancer gene that is responsible for 25 to 30 percent of all breast cancers, according to an article by Northwestern University researchers published in the Jan. 10 issue of the Annals of Oncology.' - Northwestern University
7 - "Olive Oil Reduces the Need for Blood Pressure Drugs"
"Olive oil is widely advocated as being good for preventing heart disease, but has not hitherto been associated with blood pressure reduction. An Italian study now suggests that it may lower blood pressure." - Cardiovascular Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York
8 - "Olive oil 'acts like painkiller"
'Researchers found 50g of extra-virgin olive oil was equivalent to about a tenth of a dose of ibuprofen. ... an ingredient in the oil acted as an anti-inflammatory' - Monell Chemical Senses Centre
9 - Circulation - "Blood vessels appear healthier after people consume olive oil high in phenolic compounds"
"Phenolic compounds in olive oil, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties, may explain cardiovascular health benefits associated with the so-called Mediterranean Diet" - American College of Cardiology
10 - Skin Health - "Eat your wrinkles away"
"The study authors speculated that certain foods offered skin protection due to their high levels of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E. Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil may offer protection through the same mechanism…fatty acids are present in the skin, and monounsaturated fats resist oxidative damage." - Monash University, Melbourne