9 Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Your Mind, Body and Heart

9 Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Your Mind, Body and Heart

Drizzle or sizzle – add richer, fuller flavors to your meals while reaping all these wonderful health benefits with Doña Elena’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Legend has it that the Greek city of Athens was named after the goddess Athena because her gift of an olive tree was more valuable than Poseidon’s salt spring. Dubbed “liquid gold” thousands of years ago, olive oil is the bedrock of many Mediterranean dishes, from succulent Souvlaki chicken skewers to a refreshing Greek salad with a hunk of goat cheese on top. The Mediterranean diet itself is considered one of the healthiest in the world thanks to its abundance in fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, poultry and – you guessed it – olive oil.

Oil extracted during the first pressing of the olives is considered Extra Virgin Olive Oil or EVOO, as cooks like to call it now. As it is the least processed of the olive oils, it retains the most natural antioxidants and vitamins of the lot. EVOO is not only versatile enough to be used in a variety of ways, it is incredibly good for you and your family in the long run! Here’s why you should make some permanent shelf space – we definitely did – for EVOO:

1. Lowers “Bad” Cholesterol

Olive oil contains about 75% of monounsaturated fatty acids (liquid at room temperature), and can lower your LDL or “bad” cholesterol when it’s used in place of saturated fats and trans fats, which are solid at room temperature. A 2019 analysis of 27 studies found that olive oil consumption lowered total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL. Combine the EVOO goodness with omega-3 richness (also great for the heart) by preparing this zesty and fulfilling Slow Roasted Salmon with Potatoes and Lemon Herb Vinaigrette.

2. Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease and Stroke

Studies have shown that residents in the Mediterranean regions have lower mortality from heart disease and a key reason is their high consumption of EVOO. Participants who followed a Mediterranean-style diet that included over four tablespoons of EVOO per day had a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared to those who were on a low-fat diet, their combined risk for heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease was 30% less. EVOO is not just for salads - you can use it to lightly sauté your aromatics in this warming Hearty Healthy Green Shakshuka breakfast.

3. Improves Brain Function and Reduces Risk Of Depression

There is growing evidence that switching to Mediterranean-style diets helps combat depression. In one particular study, almost a third of participants entered remission for their moderate to severe depression after a 12-week Mediterranean diet intervention that included olive oil.

Among the elderly, olive oil is also found to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and improve cognitive functions. Double down on the cognitive benefits by including a load of fresh greens in your next meal with this crunchy Asparagus Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing.

4. Balances Blood Sugar and Fights Diabetes

EVOO reduces blood sugar more than other types of cooking oils. A small study of 25 participants found that consuming an additional 10g of EVOO during a Mediterranean lunch meal versus an extra 10g of corn oil resulted in a smaller increase in blood sugar levels. EVOO is also linked to higher levels of insulin, which benefits those with type 2 diabetes.

Drop the margarine and make a delicious Asian pesto spread for your toast next time with this Asian Pesto Eggs with Coriander and Sesame recipe.

5. Mitigates Inflammation

EVOO is packed with polyphenols, which are natural bioactive compounds with antioxidant properties. These polyphenols and oleic acid are found to reduce inflammation as well as the marker for inflammation, the C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Keep chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease at bay by including more EVOO in your diet.

For a quick hunger pang fix, use EVOO to create a quick butternut sauce in this vibrant Pappardelle Pasta with Squash, Ricotta and Sage meal.

6. May Help Prevent Cancer

Consumption of olive oil has been linked to reduced risk of breast cancer and cancers of the digestive system like stomach and esophageal cancer. Several compounds present in EVOO such as hydroxytyrosol, phytosterols, oleic acid, oleocanthal and squalene have anti-cancer properties as well. While there may be no panacea for cancer, there’s no harm in including more EVOO instead of unhealthy seed oils in your cooking. Need some inspiration? Whip up a delightful Edamame Hummus for your next party dip.

7. Benefits Bone Health

Both animal and human studies suggest that olive oil inhibits the breakdown of calcium and encourages bone formation. Those who consumed the highest amounts of EVOO had a 51% less chance of bone fractures in a Prevention with Mediterranean Diet (PREDIMED) trial. The anti-inflammatory polyphenols also assist in bone health by reducing inflammatory bone loss that results from elevated osteoclast.

8. Increases Nutritional Value of Your Meals

EVOO helps cooked food retain nutrients that will otherwise be lost to cooking if other oils are used. One study showed that even a simple prep of broccoli in sunflower oil resulted in reduced amounts of vitamins in the dish compared to when EVOO was used. The antioxidants in EVOO are also resistant to heat and are absorbed by the ingredients cooked in it.

9. Boosts Flavor of Your Dishes

Ultimately, all the health benefits will be in vain if olive oil didn’t help enhance the taste of your food , right? EVOO is used by renowned chefs worldwide to add depth and flavor to well-loved classics like Aioli and even chocolate! It helps to balance acidity in tomatoes, vinegar and lemon in dishes and brings together the various spices used in a single dish. 

From an easy Penne with Tomatoes and Basil to a flavorful Spicy Lamb with Chickpeas and Quinoa Salad, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil goes a long way to boost the flavors of your dishes.

And most importantly, use only the #1 Olive Oil brand in the Philippines, Doña Elena Olive Oil (source: NielsenIQ Retail Index Service).

  • Grab your supply in leading supermarkets and grocery stores nationwide. You can also buy Doña Elena online on Lazada, Shopee and Ace Market.

This article was created in association with Doña Elena Olive Oil. For information, visit their FacebookInstagram and TikTok pages.

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