Homer called olive oil "liquid gold" and it has remained important to the Mediterranean people during the ensuing centuries where it remains as the corner stone of the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is rich in monosaturated fats, especially oleic acid. It has been demonstrated that a higher proportion of monosaturated fat in te diet is linked to a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration reviewed extensive clinical data on olive oil and made a decision in November 2004 allowing the producers of olive oil to place a statement on the label of the bottle saying that eating 2 tablespoons on olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
This health benefit is thought to primarily be due to the oleic acid (monosaturated fat) in the oil. However, extra virgin olive oil is also rich in polyphenols that are potent antioxidants and have heart health benefits.
There are other health benefits of olive oil.
- Olive oil reduces the level of omega 6 fatty acids in the blood. The significance of omega 6 fatty acids was discussed in a previous blog.
- Olive oil lowers total cholesterol and LDL levels in the blood
- Olive oil lowers blood sugar levels
- Olive oil helps to lower blood pressure
- The antioxidants in olive oil reduce oxidative damage to DNA and RNA