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The Golden Elixir: Unveiling the Health Benefits of Olive Oil

June 1, 2023

Olive oil, often called “liquid gold,” has been cherished for centuries for its culinary and medicinal qualities. Beyond its delicious taste and versatility, this extraordinary oil offers a plethora of health benefits that have been supported by scientific research. Let’s explore the advantages of adding olive oil to your diet and download the Olive Oil 101 Guide Olive Oil 101 from the North American Olive Oil Association.

Heart Health

Olive oil is renowned for its positive impact on cardiovascular health. Its high monounsaturated fat content, specifically oleic acid, may raise beneficial HDL cholesterol without increasing levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. This favorable lipid profile aids in preventing the formation of arterial plaques and reducing the risk of heart disease. Moreover, olive oil contains potent antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which fight inflammation and oxidative stress, further safeguarding the heart.

Weight Management

Excessive fat intake frequently causes weight gain. However, limiting carbohydrates, especially refined ones, and enjoying healthy fats increase satiety, reduce hunger, and may help decrease calorie intake. Several studies confirm this theory. Additionally, olive oil enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, vital for maintaining overall health.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. Olive oil possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties due to its high polyphenol content. These antioxidants combat inflammation at the cellular level, reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Regular consumption of olive oil has been associated with reduced markers of inflammation, providing an additional layer of protection against chronic conditions.

Brain Health

The monounsaturated fats in olive oil benefit the heart and improve brain health. Research suggests that consuming olive oil may lower the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. The anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil also play a role in preserving cognitive function. Its polyphenols help combat oxidative stress, protect brain cells, and enhance memory and learning abilities.

How much do you need to obtain these health benefits?

“A recent study shows a little more than ½ Tbs. Per day can provide several health benefits. For those watching their waistline, we recommend being mindful that one Tbs. of olive oil contains 120 calories. Health benefits come at as little as 80 calories per day!” said Elisabetta Politi, RD at the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center.

Article reviewed by Elisabetta Politi, RD, Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center.

About Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center Nutrition Services

Our registered dietitians /nutritionists will conduct a nutrition assessment and create a plan with you that addresses your weight and health goals. Your nutritionist will learn about your personal needs and then assist with creating a nutrition plan and setting lifestyle goals to help you adopt healthier eating habits. During regular visits, you’ll learn how to plan meals that can be adapted to your preferences or if you have cultural eating limitations, food allergies, or other intolerances. You do not need a provider referral to see a dietitian at the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center. Just call the number below.

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References

Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Enhances the Blood–Brain Barrier Function in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Olive Oil Consumption and Cardiovascular Risk in U.S. Adults

The benefits of adding a drizzle of olive oil to your diet

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