Olive Oil: 5 Common Questions

Olive Oil, apart from being a key ingredient in the Greek diet, has also been a cultural value for centuries. It was rightly called by Omiros as "Golden Juice" as its benefits for our body are multiple. Since ancient years the olive oil was not considered a simple food, but it was a symbol of health and medicine for many cases of diseases. We now know that some of the medicinal uses of olive oil include treatment of ulcers, nausea, stomach aches, constipation and several dermatological conditions. 

Below we will answer some frequently asked questions about the properties of olive oil.

What is the reason for the abundance of positive effects of olive oil on our body?

Due to the high content of monounsaturated fatty acids. For example, oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil, which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, research has linked the consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids to a reduced risk of diseases such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension.

Olive oil is suitable for people with high cholesterol

The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. In particular, extra virgin olive oil, which contains more monounsaturated fatty acids, appears to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and increase "good" HDL cholesterol. In fact, it has been found that the Mediterranean Diet can have a similar effect in lowering cholesterol to the drugs used in such cases, statins.

What diseases does the consumption of olive oil protect us from?

Olive oil contains polyphenols, flavonoids, vitamin E, provitamin A, minerals and trace elements. All these micronutrients work as antioxidants, both for the body and for the body of olive oil. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by the oxidation of free radicals. These lesions can include indflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, but also skin and hair disorders. Many of the damages caused by free radicals involve DNA, which increases the risk of cancer. Olive oil phenols have a suppresive effect on the proliferation of cancer cells.

Do i need to cut down on olive oil in order to follow a healthy diet?

Many have equated healthy preversion with calorie restriction. This often results in them depriving their bodies of valuable nutrients, depleting them physically and mentally, and ending up endangering their health. Several low calorie diets suggest complete restriction of olive oil. In fact, such a restriction can deplete our body, as olive oil contributes to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) which are necessary to repair the damage caused by daily tissue damage. Therefore, the consumption of olive oil is necessary in the context of a balanced diet.

Is coconut olive oil more beneficial to the body than olive oil?

Unlike olive oil, coconut oil consists mainly of saturated fatty acids, which have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. At the same time, the antioxidants in olive oil seem to outperform those in coconut oil. However, coconut oil is widely used in cosmetics, as it seems to help moisturize the skin, but also to protect the hair from the negative effects of UV radiation.

In conclusion, olive oil in addition to being a trademark of the Mediterranean diet, is an essential ingredient for human health, as its high content of mnounsaturated fats and antioxidants makes it a strong shield against serious diseases. Add it to your table daily and avoid multiples for your health.

Flora Giatra, Biochemist specializing in Nutrition