Olive oil is linked with a range of health benefits
Nutrition experts tout olive oil as a health-conscious component of your meal. Olive oil is linked with a range of health benefits, from lowered blood pressure to reduced inflammation.
A study published in 2022 found that people who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day had a roughly 19 percent lower chance of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who rarely or never consumed olive oil.
And a 2022 review of 13 studies showed strong associations between higher olive oil consumption and reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and death from other causes.
Researchers have circled around a few theories as to why olive oil might protect the heart. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which can reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL — sometimes called “bad” cholesterol — in your blood, according to the American Heart Association.
High amounts of LDL can build up in the inner walls of the blood vessels, forming thick deposits called plaques that can narrow and clog major arteries; monounsaturated fats may help stave off this damage.
Olive oil is also rich in antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, which can help protect your cells from damage, said Dr. Selvi Rajagopal, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The way olive oil is made can alter its health benefits, too. The less processed the oil, the higher it is in polyphenols. Exposing the oil to extreme heat or chemical solvents may degrade the polyphenols. So when possible, opt for extra virgin olive oil (which is typically made just by mechanically crushing olives) or virgin olive oil, which typically retains polyphenol levels, over a regular bottle of olive oil.
No matter what kind of olive oil you choose, though, it’ll still have some health perks. You don’t have to get the most cold-pressed, pure, expensive kind.
But aim for no more than around three or four tablespoons of olive oil per day, as that amount is associated with the greatest benefits. And don’t expect olive oil, on its own, to transform your overall health.
Source: New York Times