Last update: 08/17/2019
Olive oil plays a major role in the Mediterranean diet. But even in this country, the oil is often used in the kitchen. This is not really surprising, after all, it tastes very tasty and rounds off a wide variety of dishes. It is also said to have numerous health benefits.
In this article, we’ll look at just how healthy olive oil really is and what effects it can have on the body.
You will also learn what makes good olive oil. You will also receive tips on what to look out for when buying and storing olive oil.
Studies on olive oil
Olive oil has long been considered “liquid gold” in the Mediterranean region. It is called the source of vitality and health.
Various health benefits of olive oil have been known for years. The more research is done on this food, the more interesting study results come to light.
The special ingredients of the oil have different effects on our body. According to studies, for example, they can reduce the risk of certain diseases. You can find out more precisely which substances these are and how they work in the next six points.
1) Olive oil contains antioxidants that are beneficial to health
Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals in the body. Having too many free radicals in your body can lead to oxidative stress. This is a condition in which free radicals can attack and damage cells.
Oxidative stress has been linked to the development of numerous diseases. Antioxidants can counteract this condition.
There are many different antioxidants in olive oil. More precisely, it contains carotenoids, phytosterols, vitamin E, polyphenols such as flavonoids and lignans.
You can proven Reduce oxidative stress and have a positive effect on health.
2) Olive oil contains healthy, unsaturated fatty acids
As you probably know, olive oil consists almost entirely of fatty acids. Chemically speaking, there are different types of fatty acids: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids.
The average composition of olive oil looks like this:
55-83% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid
7-20% palmitic acid, a saturated fatty acid
3-21% linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid
0-5% stearic acid, a saturated fatty acid
0-4% palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid
The proportion of the various fatty acids naturally always depends on the olives used.
You may have heard of the highly acclaimed omega-3 fatty acids. These are not really contained in olive oil, but it is still considered very healthy.
The fatty acid that is most strongly represented in olive oil is oleic acid, a so-called omega-9 fatty acid. This monounsaturated fatty acid has already been examined in numerous studies. There is evidence that they do anti-inflammatory works.
It is also believed that it is responsible for the fact that olive oil can have a positive effect on blood lipid levels.
3) Olive oil has the potential to prevent heart disease
Heart and cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Reasons for this include an unhealthy diet, little exercise, high blood pressure, high blood lipid levels, obesity and stress.
Larger studies a few years ago showed that people in Mediterranean countries suffer from heart disease far less often. Therefore, of course, we immediately investigated why this is so. Scientists found that the Mediterranean diet is responsible for this.
Olive oil is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. The fatty acid composition of the oil has noisy Studies various beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system.
There are really many studies on this topic that show the effectiveness of olive oil. It has already been established that it will lower the LDL cholesterol and Decrease high blood pressure can.
So olive oil is certainly beneficial for your heart health, even if other components in your diet and life also have an impact on it.
4) Olive oil could possibly counteract the development of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that is associated with memory loss. The disease is characterized by the fact that protein deposits accumulate in the brain. As a result, certain brain functions are lost.
Unfortunately, it is not yet fully understood why and how Alzheimer’s occurs. It is also difficult to find out what can be done preventively against this disease.
However, 2017 became a study published which showed that olive oil may have preventive effects against Alzheimer’s.
In the study, one group of mice were given olive oil daily and the other were not. At the end of the study it was found that there were differences between the mice. The mice that were given olive oil every day had better brain performance and had less protein deposits in the brain, which occurs in Alzheimer’s disease.
You have to remember, of course, that this was an animal study. Whether it could be similar in humans has not yet been investigated. Various studies are already running.
The head of the animal study said that these results speak for themselves and that he recommends everyone to consume more olive oil. It has not yet been proven that this specific effect also exists in humans, but it certainly doesn’t do any harm.
5) Olive oil may reduce the risk of stroke
Strokes are the third leading cause of death in Germany. They are also the main cause of permanent disabilities.
In most cases of a stroke, the vessels that carry blood to the brain are blocked and the brain can no longer be properly supplied. However, it can also be that a vessel in the brain bursts and its supply is subsequently interrupted.
High blood pressure, high blood lipids, diabetes, obesity and smoking are risk factors for stroke. Even if older people are mostly affected, strokes can certainly occur in younger people.
Olive oil can fight risk factors such as poor blood lipid levels and high blood pressure. It has also been found that monounsaturated fatty acids, which are found in olive oil, among others, have the Reduce risk of stroke caused by vascular rupture can.
One can grasp some studies carried out together, it comes to the conclusion that olive oil can really reduce the risk of stroke.
In this case, too, it should be clear that olive oil alone is not enough. A balanced diet, plenty of exercise and not smoking are still mandatory in order to keep the risk of strokes low.
6) Olive oil can have anti-inflammatory properties
It is now known that chronic inflammation is partly responsible for the development of numerous diseases.
Researchers have found that high quality olive oil can reduce inflammation. This is partly due to the antioxidants it contains. The so-called oleocanthal is particularly important here.
This stuff has similar anti-inflammatory properties like the well-known medicinal ingredient ibuprofen. This is why olive oil can definitely be called anti-inflammatory.
It has also been found that there are certain fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil Biomarkers that indicate inflammation can lower.
Tips on buying
Olive oil is not just olive oil. When shopping, you should pay attention to a few points.
A pretty label and a nice bottle do not mean high-quality olive oil. It is much more important how the packaging is generally made.
The olive oil must be protected from light and oxygen. The ingredients are very sensitive and can be destroyed as a result. The oil then becomes rancid and inedible. Dark glass bottles or tin cans are ideal. Stay away from products in light-colored glass or even plastic containers.
Look at the label
You can read a lot from the label. A reference to a good olive oil is always the term “extra virgin olive oil” or “extra virgin”. This classification states that this oil was only obtained using mechanical processes without chemical agents or heat. Extra virgin olive oil is always cold-pressed.
Do a smell and taste test
The best quality won’t do you any good if you don’t like the olive oil. Also, the oil could have some kind of flaw that you can tell by taking a taste and smell test.
So it would be particularly beneficial if you can do a taste and smell test before buying. Of course, this is best done in smaller delis.
High-quality olive oil should smell pleasant and fresh. As soon as the olive oil has a bad odor, it no longer corresponds to the highest quality class. You can tell a bad olive oil really quickly by its smell. If it has a typical rancid odor, then you definitely shouldn’t buy it.
The same is true for taste. If the oil tastes very bitter and unpleasant, it is most likely not the best choice.
Buy organic olive oil
Organic olive oil is not necessarily qualitatively better. However, you can assume that no chemical pesticides were used in its manufacture.
Have you first bought a high-quality olive oil, would you like to have some of it as long as possible, right? It is therefore important to ensure correct storage.
The type of storage has a major influence on the quality and shelf life of the oil. If stored incorrectly, it can quickly become bitter or rancid.
Store under the exclusion of light and oxygen
As mentioned above, olive oil is sensitive to light and oxygen. So always make sure that it is stored in a dark place and well closed.
Store olive oil refrigerated
Heat can also affect the quality of the oil. Better to store the olive oil in a cool place. Temperatures above 25 degrees are very harmful.
You can keep it safe in the refrigerator. However, this may change the structure of the olive oil a little. But you can do that if you let it stand briefly at room temperature before using it.
Gourmets believe that the aroma wears off when stored in the refrigerator. They recommend storage in a cool cellar at around 10 degrees.
Olive oil contains great ingredients that have been shown to have a positive impact on your health. In any case, the best effects of olive oil only occur if you have an otherwise balanced diet.
For example, the Mediterranean diet isn’t just so healthy because of the olive oil. Lots of fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of lean meat and fish, lots of fiber and healthy fats provide your body with everything you need. However, regular consumption of olive oil complements your diet really well.
In summary, it should be noted that with regard to the fatty acid composition, it would be important to use different sources of fat. The fatty acids in olive oil are very healthy and effective, but the body urgently needs other fatty acids as well.
So I would encourage you to choose various healthy fat sources. These can be other vegetable oils such as walnut oil, linseed oil or pumpkin seed oil. But nuts, avocados, and high-fat fish such as salmon are also excellent sources of fat. The diversity makes it!
I hope I was able to provide you with some interesting facts about olive oil. If you have any questions, feel free to write them in the comments. Which oil do you prefer to use? Is olive oil one of your favorites too?
Best regards, Dani