Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
Researchers have noticed that people living around the Mediterranean had a lower incidence of heart disease, despite a high intake of mono-unsaturated fats, such as olive oil. This has led to investigations of, and praise for, the Mediterranean Diet of which olives and olive oil form a major part (together with fish, red wine and fresh vegetables).
Benefits of Olive Oil
Choosing Extra Virgin Olive Oil as your main source of dietary fat, combined with eating a healthy diet high in plant foods, may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Moderate amounts of olive oil may also reduce abdominal fat, if eaten as part of a diet high in plant foods.
Olive oil can help fight the development of atherosclerosis and mono-unsaturated fats like olive oil help to prevent the blood becoming sticky and forming dangerous clots.
It is thought to offer a reduced risk of some cancers (especially colon, breast and lung cancer), a reduced risk of diabetes, delayed onset of complications in established diabetes and reduced risk of dementia.
Research in 2005 suggests good quality olive oil contains a natural chemical which acts like a painkiller and anti-inflammatory such as aspirin and ibuprofen. It is possible that this chemical, oleocanthal, is key to the health benefits associated with diets rich in olive oil such as the Mediterranean Diet.
Scientists are so convinced of the health-giving properties of olive oil that they held a conference this year in Jaen University on olive oil and health.