The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest and most balanced around., And is a set of food habits typical of the peoples of the Mediterranean basin. It is credited with certain beneficial properties for health and a leading role in the prevention of various diseases, largely thanks to the intake of olive oil.
The Mediterranean diet is made up of around 50-55% of calories from carbohydrates (mostly complex and high in fiber), 10-12% protein, and 30-35% fat. Here is the importance of olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats, which belong to the group of healthy fats.
- If you want to know the differences between good fats and bad fats, you can read our article: “Types of fats (good and bad) and their functions”
Benefits and nutritional properties of olive oil
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, has a number of properties and benefits that we have shown you below.
1. It helps you live longer
Olive oil brings good taste to many foods, however. it also helps prevent and reduce the development of many diseases. Studies show that consuming olive oil daily is essential for preventing certain types of cancer, so it would help you live longer. This food, in addition to being tasty, is very healthy.
2. Antibacterial properties
Most of the diseases that prevent this food are due to its antibacterial properties, Which has been shown to be particularly effective against Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers and cancer. In fact, research shows that it is effective against eight strains of this bacteria, three of which are resistant to antibiotics. The same study showed that 30 grams of extra virgin olive oil can clear Helicobacter pylori infection in 10-40% of people in just 2 weeks.
3. Improves gut health
As you can see from the previous point, olive oil improves the health of the stomach and digestive tract, And acts as a protector by reducing excess acids in this part of the body. It also increases the body’s pH as it promotes the absorption of calcium and magnesium.
4. Prevents arthritis
Olive oil may help reduce joint pain and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis. These effects are amplified when combined with the consumption of omega-rich fish.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes deformed and painful joints. Although the causes are not known, it is believed to be through an impaired immune system in which the antibodies mistakenly attack healthy cells. Studies show that extra virgin olive oil reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in people with this disease.
5. Improves cognitive functions
Polyphenols are bioactive compounds that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, And studies have shown that they improve the birth of new neurons. Olive oil, among many other nutrients, contains polyphenols. Likewise, people who consume more fat have better memory and those who consume monounsaturated fat enjoy better cognitive functions, metabolic functions and better brain development.
Fat also promotes the formation of cell membranes and brain tissue.
6. Prevents type II diabetes
This food has a protector against diabetes, For its beneficial effects on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. This was confirmed by a study published in the Diabetes Journal which had 418 subjects. According to the results, the group who consumed the Mediterranean diet with olive oil reduced the risk of developing type II diabetes by more than 40%.
7. Improves skin health
Extra virgin olive oil helps contain anti-aging agents, And nutrients that fight osteoporosis and skin damage. According to the opinion, olive oil adds a protective layer to the skin, both through consumption and application.
8. Prevents cancer
As I said in the first point, olive oil prevents cancer. Antioxidants in this type of oil help reduce oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which are believed to be one of the main sources of cancer.
9. Prevents Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the build-up of so-called beta-amyloid plaques in brain cells. A study in mice showed that olive oil could remove these plaques from neurons.
10. It helps to lose weight
Consuming healthy fats can be beneficial for burning calories because it speeds up metabolism. Additionally, subject matter experts like Leandro Ravetti claim that “a diet high in extra virgin olive oil can promote weight loss and maintenance. In fact, low fat diets are less effective than low fat diets. containing healthy fats therefor “. .
11. Improves the immune system
Having a strong immune system is essential for enjoying good health, as it is necessary to fight against viruses or bacteria that could harm our body. Antioxidants in “green gold” help strengthen the immune system and thus prevent disease.
12. Prevents heart disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and olive oil might prevent them, as it drastically reduces the risk of heart disease through many mechanisms, for example, it reduces inflammation, improves the function of the lining of blood vessels, and can help prevent unwanted blood clotting.
13. Reduces cholesterol
In addition, olive oil helps protect the body from bad cholesterol or LDLAnd the phytosterols in it increase HDL, which helps balance cholesterol. This leads to a reduction in cardiovascular disease and arteriosclerosis.