Here are 11 health benefits of olive oil that are supported by scientific research.
1. Olive Oil is Rich in Healthy Monounsaturated Fats
Olive oil is the natural oil extracted from olives, the fatty fruit of the olive tree. About 24% of the oil is saturated fats and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (1). But the predominant (73%) fatty acid in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which is extremely healthy. Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer (2, 3, 4, 5). Monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil are also quite resistant to high heat, making it a healthy choice for cooking.
Bottom Line: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. This fatty acid is believed to have many beneficial effects, and is a healthy choice for cooking.
2. Olive Oil Contains Large Amounts of Antioxidants
Olive Oil Extra virgin olive oil is fairly nutritious. Apart from its beneficial fatty acids, it contains modest amounts of Vitamins E and K. But olive oil is also loaded with powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants are biologically active and may help fight serious diseases (6, 7). This includes antioxidants that can fight inflammation and help prevent the cholesterol in our blood from becoming oxidized, both crucial steps in the heart disease process (8, 9).
Bottom Line: Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, some of which have powerful biological effects.