A recent study found oleocanthal, a specific component of extra virgin olive oil, kills human cancer cells without harming healthy cells. According to the study, cancer cells die within 30-60 minutes after coming in contact with the oleocanthal. A study has also shown that people on a Mediterranean diet, which includes a high consumption of olive oil, have a lower rate of cancer as compared to the United States, United Kingdom, and Scandinavian countries.
Oleocanthal, a component of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, has been found to kill human cancer cells - image courtesy pixabay
Extra virgin olive oil’s other health benefits are well known. It is important to note that not all olive oils are created equal. Extra virgin olive oil is considered to be the purest and most nutritious olive oil with the greatest health benefits. It is cold pressed and the least processed type. Other types of olive oil may be diluted with cheaper oils, such as soybean or canola, or extracted with solvents. Be sure to look for extra-virgin olive oil to reap the most health benefits.
Extra virgin olive oil is considered to be the purest and most nutritious type of olive oil - image courtesy pixabay
Extra virgin olive oil is considered a healthy fat when used in moderation. It is good for the cardiovascular system. Individuals who incorporate frequent use of extra virgin olive oil in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure, have a lower risk of stroke, and lower rates of heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is increasingly believed to play a key role in chronic diseases. Extra virgin olive oil consumption appears to improve bone mineralization and calcification, playing an important part in preventing Osteoporosis. It has also been found to take a part in reducing the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes, alleviating symptoms related to Depression, and has been found to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Incorporate more extra virgin olive oil into your diet - image courtesy pixabay
Below are a few ways to incorporate more extra virgin olive oil into your diet:
1. Salad dressing. Make a quick and easy salad dressing using equal parts extra virgin olive oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar with salt and pepper to taste. You can add basil and oregano, or other spice, for a deeper flavor if desired.
2. Use as a healthier alternative in baking, grilling, and sautéing. Replace other vegetable oils or butter in baking recipes with this healthier option at a 1:1 ratio. Toss meat or vegetables in extra virgin olive oil prior to grilling, or use it to sauté.
3. Use in place of sauces and creams. For example, toss pasta with olive oil and spices in place of cream sauces. Rub potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper prior to baking for a delicious baked potato skin that makes the whole potato taste great.
4. Spread for breads. Use extra virgin olive oil in place of butter as a bread spread.
5. Toss with chopped vegetables. Chop tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, red onions, and carrots for a quick and delicious vegetable dish. Saute or grill for a few minutes, then add feta cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Eat hummus.Hummus is a healthy snack made with olive oil that you can use as a dip for vegetable sticks or pita chips or as a spread on veggie sandwiches. Some people also enjoy drizzling extra olive oil over the top of the hummus to add flavor to each bite.
If you are new to using extra virgin olive oil in your kitchen, make small changes to begin with to help yourself get used to the flavor. Try substituting the oil in meal preparation once a week and go from there. As you get to know extra virgin olive oil, the ideas on how to incorporate more of it into your diet become endless!