Olive oil is loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy fats
Loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy fats, olive oil is a versatile fat that might just be liquid gold.
The oil is a major part of the Mediterranean diet, which studies have shown is one the best diets for promoting physical and mental health.
Olive oil is the thick liquid fat from olives, aka the small fruits from the olive tree that is native to Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean region.
The main fat in olive oil is oleic acid, which has the ability to reduce inflammation by making anti-inflammatory proteins, according to a 2014 scientific review.
Olive oil also contains oleocanthal, a polyphenol that shares anti-inflammatory characteristics with the pain reliever ibuprofen.
Together the oleic acid and oleocanthal in olive oil make the ingredient an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that can help reduce chronic inflammation and, in turn, the risk of developing inflammation-induced diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
As the polyphenols in olive oil combat oxidative stress, they also protect the brain. That's because oxidative stress can damage nerve cells, or neurons, potentially causing cognitive decline and paving the way for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, according to a 2019 scientific article in the journal Molecules.
The most abundant polyphenol in olive oil is oleuropein, which is primarily found in olives and therefore, olive oil. Oleuropein has a neuroprotective effect, meaning it can protect neurons from damage, thanks to its antioxidant properties.