Olive oil is used in a wide variety of meals, including everything from salads to pasta dinners and sautéed dishes. Although it is calorie-dense, containing approximately 120 calories per tablespoon on average, olive oil is considered a healthy fat. It is included as a staple component in diets such as the Mediterranean diet, which has been indicated through research to promote weight loss and help prevent serious health problems such as heart attacks, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Even on its own, olive oil provides several significant health benefits. Some of these include:
Anti-inflammatory properties: Chronic inflammation is associated with numerous conditions, including cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis. Olive oil contains a substantial volume of antioxidants, which can effectively help to fight inflammation in the body. Some of these antioxidants include oleocanthal, which can produce an effect similar to a small percentage of an adult dose of ibuprofen, and oleic acid, the main fatty acid contained in olive oil.
Cholesterol control: Olive oil is also capable of preventing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, from oxidizing. Oxidized cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, which refers to the buildup of cholesterol along artery walls. Atherosclerosis is a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and blood clots.
Antibacterial effects: There are a significant number of nutrients contained in olive oil that can kill harmful bacteria, particularly Helicobacter pylori, which lives in the stomach and can cause ulcers and cancer.
To get the full benefit of these effects, you’ll need to make sure you’re buying extra virgin olive oil, which retains more of the properties and compounds contained in olives than more refined types of olive oil. Even if the label on a bottle of olive oil says “extra virgin,” it may not necessarily be correct; check the ingredient list to make sure it doesn’t contain any other refined oils.
If you’re looking to make healthy adjustments to your diet to prevent chronic disease or other health problems, you can get professional guidance from a registered dietician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7001.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.