Its high oleic acid content a monounsaturated fat helps regulate cholesterol levels, reducing the so-called bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol levels (HDL). It also helps prevent cardiovascular diseases.
It has a positive effect on hypertension, as it helps reduce blood pressure.
It helps maintain a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
It hampers the formation of blood clots and improves the condition of arterial walls.
It helps reduce excessive levels of blood sugar. It reduces the risk of suffering form metabolic syndrome.
It provides a certain degree of protection against some types of cancer, such as breast, prostate, endometrial and digestive system cancers. In Spain, where olive oil is widely used, breast cancer is 28% less frequent than the European average and colon cancer is 42% less frequent.
It has an anti-inflammatory effect similar to that of ibuprofen, as it inhibits the activity of the cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX). This is due to a compound called oleocanthal, discovered by the biologist Gary Beauchamp, from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in the University of Pennsylvania. According to his survey, 50 grams of olive oil contain up to 200 micrograms of oleocanthal, the equivalent to 10% of the recommended amount for an adult suffering from pain.
Olive oil has a slight laxative effect, helping fight constipation and improving digestion, by stimulating the gall bladder.
It helps prevent osteoporosis, as it helps maintain adequate calcium levels in the blood and promotes mineralization.