Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
We all know that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is great for drizzling over salads and creating that perfect bruschetta however not too much is known about the qualities of olive oil on health. It is, unquestionably the most flavoursome, aromatic and healthy of all the olive oils. But most people in the UK don’t really know the extent of the health benefits of this masterful and original superfood creation. In fact they actually consume less than a tenth of what is consumed by people in other Mediterranean countries, which means they could be missing out on a simple and effective way to improve health and wellbeing.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is probably the most extensively researched foodstuff on the planet and the health benefits are evidence based. Thanks to the recent spotlight on the Mediterranean Diet, extensive research has been done on the phytonutrient composition of olive oil. What has been discovered is an extensive list of phytonutrients; one of the most praised is its polyphenols. The amount of polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil is truly amazing!
Polyphenols are a potent antioxidant – one that can decommission a nasty molecule in your body called free radicals. Free radicals can ricochet around inside your body and harm good cells. Antioxidants, such as the polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil, work to neutralize free radicals; protecting the body from their harmful antics.
In fact the European Food Safety Agency has now approved health claims for extra virgin olive oils with polyphenol content of more than 250mg / kg. Morocco Gold contains polyphenols well above this level. So here are some of the ways that Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil can improve everyday health and well-being.
Cardiovascular diseases are the top cause of death in the industrialised world. A host of studies have documented that arteriosclerosis is closely linked to eating habits and lifestyle.
“… The lowest rates of death from coronary heart disease are currently recorded in the countries where olive oil is virtually the only fat consumed.”Professor Francisco Grande Covian
Beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis
Olive oil reduces the risk of the flow or reflux of food and gastric juice up from the stomach to the oesophagus, the gastric content of the stomach is released more slowly and gradually into the duodenum, giving a greater sensation of “fullness”.
Olive oil produces a small amount of secretion by the pancreas, making this organ “work” little, but efficiently and enough to carry out all its digestive functions. It stimulates the absorption of various nutrients (calcium, Iron, magnesium, etc.).
Extra virgin olive oil, therefore, is a fat that is digested and absorbed really well. It has choice properties and a mild laxative effect that helps to combat constipation and bad breath.
Certain foods can raise blood pressure besides having an effect on body weight. Along with high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, obesity and diabetes, it is one of the main health problems of the developed world.
One in every four adults is hypertensive. This increases the risk of early death because of the damage to the body’s arteries, especially the arteries that supply blood to the heart, kidneys, brain and eyes. Addition of olive oil to a diet has a clear lowering effect on blood pressure. Regular consumption of olive oil decreases both systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) blood pressure.
Extra virgin olive oil has been scientifically proven to reduce high blood pressure. A survey of the Mediterranean diet showed that use of extra virgin olive oil reduced blood pressure in hypertensive or healthy people. The risk of heart disease especially in the West resulting from high blood pressure should be reason enough to move to a healthier type of olive oil and better lifestyle.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance contained in foods of animal origin. Diets containing a large amount of animal fats raise blood cholesterol level, which is one of the chief risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
Olive oil lowers the levels of total blood cholesterol, LdL-cholesterol and triglycerides. At the same time it does not alter the levels of HbL-cholesterol (and may even raise them), which plays a protective role and prevents the formation of fatty patches and recurrent heart disease.
An olive oil rich diet is not only a good alternative in the treatment of diabetes, it may also help to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. How it does so is by preventing insulin resistance lowering triglycerides and ensuring better blood sugar level control and lower blood pressure.
Osteoporosis is a reduction in bone tissue mass that increases the risk of fractures. There are two types. Type I occurs in middle-aged, post-menopausal women and type II in the elderly. Extra Virgin olive oil appears to have a favourable effect on bone calcification, and bone mineralisation is better the more olive oil is consumed. It helps calcium absorption, thereby playing an important part during the period of growth and in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Polyphenols within olive oil as a antioxidant
Phenols and polyphenols serve as the core substances that give Extra Virgin Olive Oil its unique anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have determined that small amounts of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as low as one tablespoon per day, can lower inflammatory signalling in our body, including levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha).
Extra virgin olive oil as an anti-inflammatory
Importantly, the anti-inflammatory benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil do not depend on large levels of intake. In most studies, these benefits become statistically significant with as little as one tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil per day.
Research studies are providing better and better documentation for the anti-cancer benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Early studies in this area were largely limited to research using rats and mice or research on cell cultures in the lab. But more recent studies have looked at people incorporating Extra Virgin Olive Oil into their everyday meal plan and have found encouraging results.
Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to polyphenols in olive and protection of LDL particles from oxidative damage (ID 1333, 1638, 1639, 1696, 2865), maintenance of normal blood HDL cholesterol concentrations (ID 1639), maintenance of normal blood pressure (ID 3781), “anti-inflammatory properties” (ID 1882), “contributes to the upper respiratory tract health” (ID 3468), “can help to maintain a normal function of gastrointestinal tract” (3779), and “contributes to body defences against external agents” (ID 3467) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006
Source: European Food Safety Authority