Outstanding health benefits of virgin olive oil

Olive oil is a major source fat in the Mediterranean diet. Populations from that region have longer life expectancies and lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, compared with other regions of the world.

True extra virgin olive oil is extracted from olives using only pressure, a process known as cold pressing. Extra virgin olive oil has just 1% acid and has freshest, fruitiest flavor. Including extra virgin oil in your diet can help you prevent a range of diseases, such as:

(1) Preventing stroke: Research found that older people who regularly used olive oil for cooking and salad dressing or with bread had a 41% lower risk of stroke, compared with their counterparts who never consumed it.

(2) Depression risk lower with olive oil, higher with trans fats: People whose diets are high in trans fats - fast foods and mass-produced foods like pastries - may have a higher risk of depression, compared with those whose diets are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, according to a study carried out at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain.

(3) Olive oil may reduce breast cancer risk: A team of scientists at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain found a key mechanism by which virgin olive oil protects the body against breast cancer, in contrast to other vegetable oils.

(4) Olive oil helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels: A research study showed that LDL-cholesterol mean concentrations were lowered in 28 outpatients who were given olive oil supplements once a day for six weeks.

(5) Extra virgin olive oil protects against Alzheimers disease: Oleocanthal, a type of natural phenolic compound found in extra-virgin olive oil, may help shuttle the abnormal Alzheimers disease proteins out of the brain.

(6) Extra virgin olive oil protects the liver: A study demonstrated that extra virgin olive oil may protect the liver from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress refers to cell damage associated with the chemical reaction between free radicals and other molecules in the body....