Olive oil is a monosaturated, heart healthy fat. It is loaded with antioxidants that help protect the heart and blood cells from damage. Olive oil is a major ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which is known for its cardiovascular benefits. Drinking olive oil every day is not only good for the heart, but may also aid in weight loss and pain relief. However, because it’s high in calories, you should drink oil in moderation and, as with any other supplement, you should consult your doctor before taking it.
Olive oil is key to the Mediterranean diet
It is no secret that Southern Europeans who eat a more Mediterranean Diet, consisting of vegetables, fruits, lots of fish and plenty of olive oil, have a higher life expectancy with fewer diseases. An average, Italians and Spaniards consume about 13 liters of olive oil per person per year. While the entire diet does play a big role in how healthy people are, it seems the use of extra virgin olive oil is the major contributing factor to longevity and health.
In a study published in 2013, researchers followed two groups of people for five years. One group ate a higher fat Mediterranean diet while the other group followed a low-fat diet. The higher fat group had a much lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes and better success with weight loss.
An olive oil-enriched diet may facilitate weight loss. A study by Mary M. Flynn and Steven E. Reinert published in the June 2010 issue of “Journal of Women’s Health” studied two groups of women on diets. One group was on a low-fat diet and the other group was on an olive oil-enriched diet. In the olive oil group, 80 percent of participants had a weight loss of at least 5 percent. In the low-fat diet group, only 31 percent of participants had a weight loss of 5 percent. The researchers concluded that a supplement of olive oil to a regularly balanced diet brought about a greater weight loss than the low-fat diet.
Since food preparations vary and olive oil is not always needed, drinking olive oil is one way to ensure that you get your daily olive oil enrichment. Drinking at least 1 tablespoon of olive oil lets you measure exactly how much you consume each day.
Olive oil to reduce inflammation
The high-grade extra virgin olive oil contains around 30 polyphenols that act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation in the body. The monounsaturated fatty acids in extra virgin olive oil help increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol while decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Plus, the additional antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Olive oil for better skin
Looking for healthier and happier skin, nails, and hair? Look no further than your grocery shelf.
Olive oil contains lots of vitamin E, which is an important micronutrient for helping your hair, skin, and nails retain moisture and stay glossy and healthy.
You can reap the benefits by taking olive oil by the spoonful, or get to the root of the problem and apply olive oil in place of face and hand cream. Additionally, you can use it as a hair mask.
Boosts Your BMs
It should come as no surprise that olive oil is great for your digestive system. Specifically, it’s great for moving things along, if you know what we mean.
If you have a tendency to be constipated, swallowing a spoonful of olive oil every day (and making sure you’re getting enough water) will make a huge difference.
The oil lubricates your digestive tract and your BM’s, making things move more smoothly.
This can be especially helpful if you’ve been constipated for a few days and need an all-natural kickstart to unblock your colon.
However, avoid taking more than a spoonful, as this can cause loose, watery stools.
Olive oil for colon health
The polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil act as antioxidants to rid the body of free radicals that would otherwise damage cells, or even lead to cancer. A study found that drinking olive oil inhibited colon cancer at various stages of the disease. So why not use it to fend off cancer to begin with? This is not to say that you should skip those recommended colonoscopies after age 50, but go ahead and add olive oil to your daily regimen as a preventative measure.
Helps Your Heart
Olive oil is probably best known for being a heart-healthy superfood. That’s because your body needs fats, but we often get them from the wrong sources.
Too much red meat, fried food, and cheese can block your arteries.
In contrast, the fat you get from olive oil can help improve your heart health and unclog your arteries along the way — if you pair it with the right foots.
According to Forbes, when you pair olive oil with a dark leafy green like kale, you create a nitro fatty acid that reduces inflammation and relaxes the blood vessels to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow.
How to start your day with olive oil
With all this talk of the great benefits of olive oil, let’s talk about how to take it. We know, of course, that it may be a bit difficult to start your day with an entire shot of olive oil on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. In fact, if oil is consumed in large amounts, it may actually upset the stomach that is not used to it. Here are a couple more ways to go about it.
First, start with a tablespoon and increase the amount over time. Another option is to mix olive oil in a blender with a cup of warm water and the juice of a lemon. It makes it much more palatable and the lemon juice will help with the easier digestion of the oil. Plus, lemon juice has been linked to improved liver function. A healthy liver produces more bile, which in turn is needed for the proper breakdown of fats (and oils) in the small intestine.
Drinking olive oil might pose a health risk to some individuals. It’s high in vitamin E, and drinking large amounts of olive oil might cause an accidental vitamin E overdose, which in turn impairs your ability to form blood clots. Olive oil also contains 120 calories per tablespoon, so the calories add up quickly when you’re drinking it.
If you’re finding it difficult to drink olive oil, try adding a tablespoon to a homemade fruit smoothie. Alternatively, drizzling soups and salads with olive oil boosts your intake without the need for drinking it directly.