Unlocking Longevity with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Unlocking Longevity with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In recent years, a surge of interest in health and wellness has prompted individuals to explore avenues for enhancing both physical and mental performance, improving longevity, and preventing chronic diseases. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has garnered recognition worldwide as a noteworthy contributor to overall well-being. This article aims to explore the myriad health benefits that make this golden elixir a true gem in the realm of nutrition.

EVOO is often considered a powerhouse of polyphenols, vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, all of which enhance its nutritional profile. Polyphenols in EVOO are highly valued and sought after for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Antioxidants play a crucial role in neutralising free radicals in the body and protecting cells from oxidative stress. Free radicals contribute to aging and various chronic diseases, making the antioxidant-rich EVOO a valuable ally in promoting cellular health. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties in EVOO support the prevention of various health issues associated with chronic inflammation in the body. 

A recent study followed ninety thousand people over thirty years and indicated that the consumption of olive oil is associated with a reduced risk of mortality. Individuals in the highest consumption group of olive oil, at just half a tablespoon a day, reduced their chance of death from cancer by 17%, from respiratory disease by 18%, from cardiovascular disease by 19% and from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s by 29%. A group was also studied that substituted margarine, butter, mayonnaise and dairy fat in their diet with olive oil. These participants lowered their risk of mortality by as much as 34%.  

Health Benefits

  • Heart Health

One of the most well-known advantages of EVOO is its positive impact on heart health. The monounsaturated fats in EVOO, particularly oleic acid, have been linked to improved cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease.

The two key biologically active polyphenols present in olive oil that have shown benefits in combating cardiovascular disease are Oleacein and Oleocanthal. Oleacin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and Oleocanthal also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties likened to the effects of ibuprofen. Chronic inflammation is a contributing factor to various cardiovascular conditions, and by possessing anti-inflammatory properties, these compounds have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.

  • Weight Management

Contrary to common misconceptions about the caloric content of oils, moderate consumption of EVOO has been associated with weight management and reduced risk of obesity. The healthy fats in EVOO may contribute to the feeling of satiety and help regulate appetite. Moreover, studies have shown that the polyphenols can mimic the beneficial effects of caloric restriction on the body, including reduced fat cell creation.

  • Improved Digestive Health

The monounsaturated fatty acids present in EVOO play a pivotal role in promoting digestive health by stimulating the production of bile, a digestive fluid. This not only contributes to overall digestive well-being but can also impact symptoms like bloating and constipation. Additionally, these monounsaturated fatty acids aid in the efficient absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), further supporting the body's nutritional uptake.

Chronic inflammation in the gut is associated with various digestive issues and can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria. The anti-inflammatory properties inherent in EVOO have the potential to alleviate inflammation within the digestive tract and promote a more conducive environment for overall gut health. 

  • Cellular Health

EVOO promotes autophagy, which is the body's system of clearing out dead cells and creating new ones. Often likened to a housekeeping process, autophagy plays a pivotal role in enhancing cellular health and functionality. The intricate connection between cellular health and the overall lifespan of an organism underscores the importance of maintaining proper cellular function for a healthier aging process. Oleuropein, a polyphenolic compound found in EVOO, is recognised for its role in fostering autophagy, contributing to the cellular rejuvenation essential for prolonged well-being and vitality.

  • Brain Health

Emerging research suggests that the combination of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants in EVOO may have neuroprotective properties, potentially benefiting cognitive function and reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline. The Mediterranean diet, in which EVOO is a key component, has been linked to a lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases. 

A recent report from Greece compared three patient groups. The first group was instructed to follow a standard Mediterranean diet, the second group was given 50ml per day of a medium phenolic EVOO and the third group was given 50ml per day of a high phenolic early harvest EVOO. The high phenolic EVOO group showed better performance across all cognitive domains. Suggesting that enhancing one's diet with Early Harvest EVOO, with a high content of polyphenols, may result in improved cognitive function over an extended period. 

  • Bone Health

Chronic inflammation is commonly linked to conditions such as osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weakened bones and an increased risk of fractures. The anti-inflammatory properties found in EVOO, notably its key polyphenol oleuropein, have been suggested to play a role in mitigating inflammation and supporting bone health.

A compelling study demonstrated that individuals with a higher consumption of EVOO had a noteworthy 51% lower risk of osteoporosis-related fractures. This finding emerged from research conducted with middle-aged and elderly participants in the Mediterranean region.

Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Early harvest EVOO tends to be higher in polyphenols compared to oils from later harvests. During the early stages of olive maturation, when the olives are green and not fully ripe, the polyphenol content is often at its peak. As the olives ripen, the polyphenol levels may decrease. Therefore, EVOO produced from early harvest olives is often considered to have a more robust and peppery flavour profile, along with a higher concentration of polyphenols.

For a high phenolic extra virgin olive oil look no further than our Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil

To conclude, incorporating EVOO as part of a balanced and nutrient-rich diet is a simple yet powerful step towards enhancing your overall health and well-being. Ranging from cardiovascular support to brain health and digestive harmony, this liquid gold elixir adds not just flavour but a host of health benefits to your table.

To get its maximum benefits consume EVOO primarily raw, in order to preserve its optimal nutritional properties. It can be enjoyed in salad dressings, as a finishing oil to garnish your dish, as a dipping oil or depending on your preference, you can even enjoy a spoonful on its own. It is important however to choose a high-quality EVOO as it retains more of its natural compounds and is not processed.

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