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Olive oil has been around for centuries and offers many benefits and few side effects. It can be used for cooking, housekeeping and as a personal beauty or health supplement. Daily intake of the right type of olive oil will even help prevent heart disease and can lower your risk of colon cancer.
Olives are pressed to yield olive oil. The oil retains all the vitamins and nutrients of the olive, because it does not need processing. Once oil is pressed from the olive, it can be ingested as is.
Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. The oil also contains high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) that are vital in controlling low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). LDLs raise your cholesterol level and can be harmful to your health, but HDLs keep these levels in check.
- Olives are pressed to yield olive oil.
- LDLs raise your cholesterol level and can be harmful to your health, but HDLs keep these levels in check.
Can Coconut Oil Clog Arteries?
Because olive oil is so vital in controlling cholesterol, it is an excellent food to help prevent heart disease 1. Swallowing just 2 tbsp. of virgin olive oil each day for one week can noticeably reduce your cholesterol 1. By lowering your cholesterol, you can also reduce your blood pressure and your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers have also found that olive oil can be very useful in reducing your risk of colon, breast and skin cancers. A diet supplemented with olive oil can be just as effective as a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Olive oil may also aid in digestion, relieve constipation, prevent hair loss, moisturize skin and promote healthy nail growth.
- Because olive oil is so vital in controlling cholesterol, it is an excellent food to help prevent heart disease 1.
- Researchers have also found that olive oil can be very useful in reducing your risk of colon, breast and skin cancers.
Olive oil can also be a useful tool around the home. Olive oil rubbed into stainless steel pans can help prevent streaking or tarnishing on the pots and acts as a natural conditioner for the metal. Olive oil with a bit of vinegar and citrus juice acts as a substitute for wooden furniture polish. If you have a stuck zipper, simply dab olive oil on the teeth and work the zipper down. Adding 1 tsp. olive oil to your cat’s food will also help prevent hairballs and give it a shiny coat.
- Olive oil can also be a useful tool around the home.
- olive oil to your cat’s food will also help prevent hairballs and give it a shiny coat.
Do Nuts Have Cholesterol?
The only negative effect of olive oil, unless you are allergic to it, is that it can cause mild diarrhea if large amounts are ingested. But this can also be beneficial, as it acts as a natural laxative if you are constipated.
However, if you are taking medications for diabetes or blood pressure, decrease your intake of olive oil. Olive oil reduces blood sugar and blood pressure 1. If you are taking medications for this and ingesting olive oil at the same time, your blood sugar and pressure may go too low, causing complications.
- The only negative effect of olive oil, unless you are allergic to it, is that it can cause mild diarrhea if large amounts are ingested.
The Best Type of Olive Oil
Many types of olive oil are available—extra light, light, virgin and extra virgin. The light oils are generally more processed and have less of the original nutrients in them. The virgin oils are oils straight from fresh pressed olives. Extra virgin means the olive was pressed once, and virgin means it was pressed twice. Extra virgin will always have more nutrients and more benefits for your health. Always buy organic olive oil if possible.
- Many types of olive oil are available—extra light, light, virgin and extra virgin.
- Extra virgin will always have more nutrients and more benefits for your health.
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- Pub Med: Olive Oil and Cholesterol Study
- Global Healing Center: Health Benefits of Olive Oil
- Uylaşer V, Yildiz G. The historical development and nutritional importance of olive and olive oil constituted an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(8):1092-101. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.626874
- Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lipids Health Dis. 2014;13:154. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-13-154
- Oil, olive, salad or cooking. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- Ulatowski L, Manor D. Vitamin E trafficking in neurologic health and disease. Annu Rev Nutr. 2013;33:87-103. doi:10.1146/annurev-nutr-071812-161252
- Rizvi S, Raza ST, Ahmed F, Ahmad A, Abbas S, Mahdi F. The role of vitamin E in human health and some diseases. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2014;14(2):e157-65.
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin K fact sheet for health professionals. Updated February 24, 2020.
- Berrougui H, Ikhlef S, Khalil A. Extra virgin olive oil polyphenols promote cholesterol efflux and improve HDL functionality. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:208062. doi:10.1155/2015/208062
- Gorzynik-Debicka M, Przychodzen P, Cappello F, et al. Potential health benefits of olive oil and plant polyphenols. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(3)doi:10.3390/ijms19030686
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA completes review of qualified health claim petition for oleic acid and the risk of coronary heart disease. Updated November 19, 2018.
- Román GC, Jackson RE, Reis J, Román AN, Toledo JB, Toledo E. Extra-virgin olive oil for potential prevention of Alzheimer disease. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2019;175(10):705-723. doi:10.1016/j.neurol.2019.07.017
- Liu H, Huang H, Li B, et al. Olive oil in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis after artificial menopause. Clin Interv Aging. 2014;9:2087-95. doi:10.2147/CIA.S72006
- Martín‐Peláez S, Covas MI, Fitó M, Kušar A, Pravst I. Health effects of olive oil polyphenols: recent advances and possibilities for the use of health claims. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013;57(5):760-71. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201200421
- Navarro Soto J, Satorres Martínez S, Martínez Gila D, Gómez Ortega J, Gámez García J. Fast and reliable determination of virgin olive oil quality by fruit inspection using computer vision. Sensors (Basel). 2018;18(11). doi:10.3390/s18113826
- Pristouri G, Badeka A, Kontominas MG. Effect of packaging material headspace, oxygen and light transmission, temperature and storage time on quality characteristics of extra virgin olive oil. Food Control. 2010;21(4):412-8. doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2009.06.019
- Lucas L, Russell A, Keast R. Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal. Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(8):754-68. doi:10.2174/138161211795428911
Lily Obeck is a copywriter based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She writes for print, online, outdoor and broadcast marketing, with expertise in health, education and lifestyle topics. Obeck holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Texas and works as a part-time children's library assistant.