In the last decade we have seen a shift in perspectives around fats, with researcher’s findings concluding that there is a difference between ‘good fats’ and ‘bad fats’. Olive oil has been dubbed a good fat and is now considered one of the healthiest foods on the market.
The debate has been settled and there is no question that olive oil has many health benefits, but what are the five main components of extra virgin olive oil that make it a certifiable superfood?
If you have ever felt that burning, almost peppery taste that tingles at the back of your throat, that’s believed to be caused by oleocanthal. This phenolic compound contained in EVOO has very similar characteristics to that of Ibuprofen. Oleocanthal has been reported to exhibit various modes of action in reducing inflammatory related disease, including joint-degenerative disease, neuro-degenerative disease and specific cancers. Oleocanthal inhibits the COX1 and COX2 enzymes responsible for triggering pain, inflammation, and fever. It can also prevent Alzheimer’s disease by helping clear beta-amyloid plaques from the brain.
Antioxidants help prevent or stop cell damage caused by oxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this cell damage is a factor in the development of cancer and other conditions. Extra Virgin olive oil is rich in these powerful natural antioxidants which have been shown to destroy free radicals, kill cancer cells, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Monounsaturated fatty acids
These types of fatty acids refer to the ‘good’ fats and have been found to protect against disease by increasing the fluidity and elasticity of the cell membranes. The consumption of these healthy fats has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and colon cancer. Research also shows that these fatty acids may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.
- Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is most well known for the important role it plays in blood clotting. Vitamin K is also essential to building strong bones and preventing heart disease. This fat-soluble vitamin is found in olive oil, a tablespoon of olive oil contains about 10 percent of the daily dose of vitamin K recommended for an adult.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in human health. Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects the body against eye and skin problems, cancer, diabetes, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It is widely used in skin creams and lotions because it reduces scarring and promotes healing.