The heavy use of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet has long been heralded as one of many reasons that this way of eating is better than the traditional American diet or other cuisines.

Photo Credit: By Monica from Anghiari (AR), Italy (olio novello 2006) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Fresh pressed olive oil, which is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, has been found by researchers in Spain to actually work with DHA (the fat derived from omega-3s) to improve its availability to cell membranes. Unbelievably enough, this seemingly small benefit is believed to extend one’s life by a whopping 13 years! The more olive oil consumed, the higher the average increase is.

Studies have also found that those who eat a high amount of olive oil are at a 44% lower risk of dying from heart diseases when compared to those who don’t eat olive oil at all, and are 26% less likely to die of any cause than those who don’t eat olive oil.

These incredible benefits are primarily due to the protective properties of monounsaturated fats, which help to shield the body from heart disease and protect it from certain types of cancer (especially breast cancer). This healthy, all-natural oil also helps to prevent inflammation in the body, a cause of numerous health issues, as well as regulate blood sugar levels.

To reap these benefits of olive oil, nutritionists recommend adding two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to one’s diet without heating up the oil. You can use it as a topping for your favorite vegetables or salads, drizzle it over a plate full of whole grain pasta, or use it on your morning toast. The possibilities, and benefits, really are endless!


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