Olive Oil Nutrition, Benefits and Uses

How This Helps

Olive Oil Benefits and Useful in:
Cancer | Heart Disease | Inflammation | Obesity | High Cholesterol | High blood pressure | Cardiovascular disorders | Depression | Alzheimer’s | Liver | Colitis
Modern olive oil is produced by first crushing olives and then separating the oil from the pulp. Extra virgin olive oil is the 100% natural variety that is high in antioxidants. The oil's major antioxidants include the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal, in addition to oleuropein, a chemical that protects LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation. This might be the principal reason for olive oil's health benefits.
Dietary fats are highly controversial, with disagreements about animal fats, seed oils, and everything in between in full force. Having said that, most people today concur that extra virgin olive oil is remarkably healthy. As an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, this conventional product has been a dietary staple for some of the world's healthiest populations. Studies indicate that the fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil may provide many health benefits. Olive oil may be among the healthiest foods you can have for your heart. It helps to reduce blood pressure and fight inflammation, protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation, and could help prevent blood clotting.


Here are some ways to use olive oil - in strict moderation:
- Sprinkle it over salad or mix it into the salad dressing.
- Use in sauces for fish, poultry, and vegetables. ...
- Add towards the end of cooking for a burst of flavor.
- Add a drop or two over cooked pasta or vegetables.
- Consider it as an alternative to butter or margarine in very limited amounts

Science and Research

Olive Oil Benefits for Health Conditions:
Heart Disease:
Olive oil is rich in polyphenols like hydroxytyrosol. This compound protects the cells lining the blood vessels and prevents its damage by reactive oxygen species. The oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which are easily absorbed in the blood and reach the cell membranes leading to alterations in the cell signalling pathways, thereby decreasing the blood pressure. Olive oil has remarkable anti-artherogenic properties which prevent the formation of plaques in the blood vessels and the development of diseases like atherosclerosis. 
Alzheimer ’s disease:
Olive oil is rich in Oleocanthal, which is a naturally-occurring polyphenolic compound. Studies show that this compound is able to throw out the harmful proteins that cause Alzheimer;s disease, resulting in decreasing its incidence. This chemical boosts the production of some enzymes and proteins that decrease the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein, a major culprit in the Alzheimer’s disease.
Olive oil contains oleic acid, which blocks the chemicals that cause inflammatory diseases in the bowel and colon, leading to reduction in ulcerative colitis. Moreover, oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol also help in reducing the inflammatory effect on the pancreas and other oxidative-inflammatory diseases.

What is Olive Oil?

How is olive oil made?

Olive oil is the oil that's been extracted from olives, the fruits of the olive tree. The production process is remarkably easy. Olives are first crushed, and then the oil is separated from the pulp in a centrifuge. After centrifugation, small quantities of oil remain in the pomace. The leftover oil could be extracted using chemical solvents and is called olive pomace oil. Purchasing the proper kind of olive oil is vital. There are three types of olive oil - virgin, extra virgin, and refined. Extra virgin olive oil is the least refined type with the maximum benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is thought of as the healthiest type of olive oil. It is extracted using natural techniques and standardized for purity and particular sensory qualities like flavor and odor. Olive oil that's really extra virgin has a different taste and is high in phenolic antioxidants, that is the main reason it's so valuable. Legally, vegetable oils that are tagged as olive oil can't be diluted with other kinds of oils. Nevertheless, it's crucial to inspect the label carefully.

See: Heart healthy diet plan to prevent heart disease

Anti-inflammatory benefits

Extra virgin olive oil includes anti-inflammatory substances. Chronic inflammation is thought to be among the major drivers of several ailments, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.

Oleic acid, the primary fatty acid in olive oil, has been proven to reduce inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein.

However, the oil's most important anti-inflammatory effects appear to be due to its antioxidants, primarily oleocanthal, that has been demonstrated to work like aspirin, a favorite anti-inflammatory drug. Researchers estimate that the sum of oleocanthal in 50 ml (about 3.4 tbsp ) of extra virgin olive oil exerts effects like those of 10 percent of the adult aspirin dose for pain relief.

In addition, one study demonstrated that compounds in olive oil could decrease the expression of genes and proteins that mediate inflammation. Chronic, low-level inflammation is usually fairly mild, and it takes years or decades for it to do harm. Employing extra virgin olive oil can help prevent this from occurring, resulting in a reduced risk of various inflammatory diseases, particularly heart disease.

See: Garlic Health Benefits, Nutrition & Side Effects

Olive oil nutrition facts

Olive Oil Nutrition: 
Serving size: 100 g

Nutrients Amount
Energy 884 kcal
Energy 3699 kJ
Total lipid (fat) 100 g
Calcium, Ca 1 mg
Iron, Fe 0.56 mg
Potassium, K 1 mg
Sodium, Na 2 mg
Choline, total 0.3 mg
Betaine 0.1 mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 14.35 mg
Tocopherol, beta 0.11 mg
Tocopherol, gamma 0.83 mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 60.2 µg
Fatty acids, total saturated 13.808 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 72.961 g
Phytosterols 221 mg

Source: USDA Nutrient Database

See: Olive oil consumption and reduced incidence of hypertension: the SUN study.

Helps cardiovascular health

Extra virgin olive oil for cardiovascular health

Heart disease and stroke are some of the most frequent causes of death from the world. Many observational studies reveal that death from these diseases is reduced in certain regions of the world, particularly in nations around the Mediterranean Sea.

This monitoring originally spurred interest from the Mediterranean diet, which is supposed to mimic how the people in these nations eat. Studies on the Mediterranean diet reveal it can help prevent cardiovascular disease. In one key study, the Mediterranean diet reduced heart disease, strokes, and death by 30 percent. Extra virgin olive oil helps to protect against heart disease through numerous mechanisms:

- Reduces inflammation.

- Reduces oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

- Lowers blood pressure.

- Enhances blood vessel health.

- Helps manage blood clotting.

Given the biological effects of olive oil, it is not surprising that individuals who have the greatest amounts of it are less likely to die from heart attacks and strokes. Many animal and human studies have shown that olive oil has significant benefits for the heart.

See: How to lower cholesterol naturally

Other benefits of extra virgin olive oil

Though olive oil has largely been studied for its effects on heart health, its consumption has also been associated with a range of additional health benefits.

- Olive oil and cancer

Cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells and a frequent cause of death. Studies have shown that people living around the Mediterranean Sea have a rather low risk of cancer, and some have theorized that olive oil has something to do with this. One possible contributor to cancer is oxidative damage as a result of harmful molecules known as free radicals, and the antioxidants in the extra virgin olive oil help to reduce oxidative damage. The oleic acid in olive oil is highly resistant to oxidation and has been demonstrated to benefit the genes linked to cancer.

- Olive oil and Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is the planet's most common neurodegenerative disease and a major cause of dementia. One characteristic of Alzheimer's is a buildup of protein tangles called beta-amyloid plaques in certain neurons in the brain. A controlled research study in humans demonstrated that a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil enhanced brain function with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment.

See: Nitric oxide supplements health benefits & side effects

Cooking with olive oil

Would you cook with olive oil?

Throughout cooking, fatty acids may oxidize, meaning that they react with oxygen and become ruined. The double bonds that exist in molecules of fatty acid are largely responsible for this. Because of this, saturated fats, that have no double bonds, are resistant to high heat. Meanwhile, polyunsaturated fats, which have many double bonds, are sensitive and become ruined.

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, that have just one double bond, and is quite resistant to heat. Researchers heated extra virgin olive oil into 356°F (180°C) for 36 hours in one study. The oil has been highly resistant to damage. Overall, olive oil appears to be quite safe, even for cooking at fairly significant heat. Olive oil is super healthy. For people who have cardiovascular disease or are at a higher risk of developing it, olive oil is most definitely a superfood. The benefits of this superb fat are one of the few things that many people in nourishment agree upon.

See: Sesame Oil Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts


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2. Borzi, A. M., et al. (2019). Olive oil effects on colorectal cancer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6357067/

3. Olive oil and olive-pomace oil grades and standards. (n.d.). https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/olive-oil-and-olive-pomace-oil-grades-and-standards

4. Perveen, T., et al. (2013). Role of the monoaminergic system in the etiology of olive oil induced antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in rats. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725699/

5. Chiou, A., & Kalogeropoulos, N. (2017). Virgin olive oil as frying oil. Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12268/full

6. Covas, M. I. (2007). Olive oil and the cardiovascular system [Abstract].   https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6484061_Olive_oil_and_the_cardiovascular_system

7. Estruch, R., et al. (2018). Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1800389?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

8. Phaniendra, A., et al. (2015). Free radicals: Properties, sources, targets, and their implication in various diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4310837/

9. Román, G. C., et al. (2019). Extra-virgin olive oil for potential prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. https://www.em-consulte.com/article/1318474/alertePM

10. Sánchez-Villegas, A., et al. (2011). Dietary fat intake and the risk of depression: The SUN project.  http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016268

11. Guallar-Castillión, P., et al. (2012). Food fried in olive or sunflower oil is not linked to heart disease. https://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e363

12. Larussa, T., et al. (2019). Olive tree bisphenols in inflammatory bowel disease: When bitter is better. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471980/

13. Martinez-Gonzalez, M. A. et al. (2018). Mediterranean diet and life expectancy; beyond olive oil, fruits, and vegetables. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5902736/

14. Olive oil. (2019). https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/343873/nutrients

See: Extra virgin olive oil use is associated with improved post-prandial blood glucose and LDL cholesterol in healthy subjects.

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