Due to the high antioxidant compounds and the high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids in extra virgin olive oil, the key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, the health benefits are substantial.
Olive oil contains poly-phenols, carotenoids, tocophenols, chlorophyl and squalene, which have antioxidant properties.
When antioxidants clash with free radicals which are oxidized, they grant electrons and they become non toxic free radicals that are unable to propagate the reaction.
Extra virgin olive oil is necessary in the diet to strengthen the endogenous antioxidants, so they can fight the produced free radicals. The antioxidant content of foods is very important for the protection against oxidation and deterioration, and against continuing loss of nutritional value.
Researchers Christina Samaniego, Jose Javier Quesada, Maria Carmen Lopez-Martinez, Maria Rosa Sanchez and Herminia Lopez-Garcia de la Serrana at the University of Granada, Spain, reported, studies they did in human volunteers, have shown increased antioxidant activity in plasma and serum after the intake of antioxidant rich foods and especially olive oil.
The researchers after studying for four weeks the effects of two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil intake daily, in volunteers 20 to 30 years old, all non smokers and in good health, non consuming vitamins, minerals or drugs, also the day before the study they didn’t consume any antioxidants (fruits, chocolate, wine, etc) to avoid interference with plasma AC (antioxidant capacity) measurements, and with HDL and LDL normal, they reported some great results.
During the study the volunteers replaced all fats with olive oil. Blood was drawn before the olive oil intake program, two weeks later and at the end of the program. The same type of olive oil was used to maintain the same fatty acids and antioxidant compounds.
The results showed an increase in HDL (good cholesterol) and a reduction in LDL (bad cholesterol).
Extra virgin olive oil intake, plays a major role in health and has positive effects against cholesterol related diseases.
Although fatty acids are very important, antioxidants are even greater.
The conclusion again from these findings is that using extra virgin olive oil daily in our diet, offers protection against many diseases.