Olive Oil Health Advantages and Disadvantages

Olive Oil is obtained from the fruits of Olive trees which grow widely in the Mediterranean region. A monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid makes up 73% of the oil. Olive Oil has become a popular medium for cooking and is also being widely used in cosmetic products. There are many health benefits of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is more healthy as compared to the refined varieties of the oil. However, there are also a number of disadvantages associated with olive oil. Many health experts and celebrities endorse olive oil, but it is necessary to be aware of both its advantages and disadvantages.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil Advantages

Protects Heart  – The total fat content in one tablespoon of olive oil is 13.5 grams, but the saturated fat content is just 1.82 grams. Saturated fat is Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL, which tends to cause atherosclerosis and is called bad cholesterol. Thus, olive oil does not increase the levels of bad cholesterol. Moreover, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats present in olive oil also reduce cholesterol levels. Low cholesterol reduces the risk of developing heart diseases because the chances of clot formation in the coronary arteries reduce drastically.

Anti-inflammation – Anti-inflammatory properties are imparted to olive oil by antioxidants present in it, the principal antioxidant being oleocanthal. Research has shown that oleocanthal has similar anti-inflammatory actions as ibuprofen. Inflammatory markers like C Reactive Protein are reduced by oleic acid present in olive oil. Furthermore, olive oil also suppresses certain genes and proteins which cause inflammation.

Protects against Diabetes and Cancer – Mono and polyunsaturated fats present in olive oil reduce the levels of blood sugar and positively affect insulin sensitivity, which provides protection against the risk of developing diabetes. Antioxidants in olive oil combat the cancer-causing free radicals, thereby protecting against cancer, especially colon cancer.

Protects against Depression and Alzheimer’s Disease – Olive oil increases the levels of serotonin in the brain and reduces the levels of cortisol or stress hormone. Both these effects cumulatively prevent depression and mood swings. A study has shown that olive oil removes beta-amyloid plaques from the brain cells, which is one of the major features of Alzheimer’s disease. Olive oil also improves cognitive and other brain functions which prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Protects against Depression and Alzheimer’s Disease – Olive oil increases the levels of serotonin in the brain and reduces the levels of cortisol or stress hormone. Both these effects cumulatively prevent depression and mood swings. A study has shown that olive oil removes beta-amyloid plaques from the brain cells, which is one of the major features of Alzheimer’s disease. Olive oil also improves cognitive and other brain functions which prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by wasting of the joints. The joints become very painful and lose mobility. Olive oil reduces swelling in the joints and also relieves pain by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
A combination of fish oil and olive oil is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, such as reducing pain and morning stiffness and improving grip strength.

Good for Skin – Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, which imparts a smooth and glowing appearance to the skin. The antioxidants in olive oil combat free radicals that damage the skin, thereby preventing the appearance of wrinkles and other aging signs leading to a youthful appearance. Olive oil can be used as a non-sticky moisturizer.
Removes Kidney Stones- Studies have indicated that olive oil effectively flushes out kidney stones from the body.

Olive Oil Disadvantages

Rashes and Acne – Olive oil tends to cause clogging of pores and traps dirt, leading to acne development. Olive oil also causes rashes, redness, and irritation when applied to oily skin. Thus, people having oily skin must avoid using olive oil on their skin. The risk of acquiring contact dermatitis, eczema, and respiratory allergies is also associated with olive oil.

Calorie Rich – Olive oil carries a lot of calories. One tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories. Thus, excessive olive oil must not be used for cooking food and must be used in limited amounts. Obstructs Blood Circulation- Oleic fatty acid and saturated and unsaturated fats tend to make the blood sticky, resulting in the formation of clots. Clots obstruct normal blood circulation.

An abnormal decrease in blood sugar and blood pressure – Excessive oil consumption causes blood sugar levels to fall below the normal levels due to high insulin production regulation. The blood pressure can also fall so low as to cause kidney failure or stroke.

Final Words

Olive oil is a healthy option because advantages are more numerous as compared to disadvantages. However, olive oil should be used in moderation to stay clear of its unhealthy effects. Furthermore, you must always purchase genuine extra virgin olive oil to reap its benefits fully.

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