We all know how good extra virgin Spanish olive oil tastes, whether it’s starring in a salad dressing or drizzled over grilled fish and vegetables. But did you know that as little as two tablespoons per day can also have a beneficial effect on your health?
Perhaps surprisingly for such a high-fat foodstuff, olive oil is considered something of a superfood by nutrition and health professionals and has been linked to fighting cancer, protecting against heart disease and lowering cholesterol.
It’s all thanks to fresh olive oil’s high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (vital healthy fats) and antioxidants. We’ve listed a brief summary of the many benefits of ‘olive juice’ here:
• Olive oil is well tolerated by the stomach and has a beneficial effect on stomach ulcers and gastritis. It’s also been linked to preventing gastric cancers although research is ongoing.
• Believed to lower the incidence of gallstones
• May have a protective effect on certain malignant tumours, due to the phytonutrient Oleocanthal which mimics the effect of Ibuprofen (the active ingredient in popular painkillers like Nurofen) in reducing inflammation.
• Aids cholesterol regulation by lowering blood levels of the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, whilst raising ‘good’ levels of HDL.
• Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease
• Lowers blood sugar levels so may be helpful for diabetics
• Decreases blood pressure
• Improves bone mineralization and calcification so may prevent the onset of Osteoporosis
The list goes on and on, with researchers discovering new benefits every day. But it does go some way to explain why the rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer are so much lower in the mediterranean countries that enjoy a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil.
To maximise the nutrients you receive from your olive oil, always choose extra virgin olive oil and ask for the freshest possible, as even the best olive oil will slowly degrade over time So store your precious oil away from heat and light and consume it within 6 months.