Learn why olive oil is a healthy fat that’ll go a long way to protect your body and keep you healthy.
In general, dietary fats are pretty controversial in the land of science and nutrition. Many health experts have differing opinions about the health benefits of animal fats, oils, and everything in between.
But the majority of doctors, scientists, researchers, and nutrition experts agree that one oil, in particular, stands out as a healthy fat that’s jam-packed with nutritional benefits.
And I agree. Olive oil is a healthy fat that provides you with all sorts of important health benefits that’ll go a long way to helping you achieve whole-body health and inner harmony.
Let’s get into the trenches and uncover exactly why olive oil is a powerhouse healthy fat and what 5 evidenced-based benefits olive oil offers us.
What Properties Make Olive Oil Healthy?
Olive oil comes in three grades: refined, virgin, and extra virgin. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed grade since it’s made from pure, cold-pressed olives. Regular olive oil is a blend, including both cold-pressed and processed oils.
All types of olive oil contain properties that provide great benefits to the body. Let’s review them.
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
The main type of fat found in olive oils is monounsaturated fatty acids (or MUFAs). MUFAs are somewhat lauded by scientists across the world since they’re resistant to oxidation, they raise HDL and lower LDL. Additionally, mitochondria and cellular membranes with a lot of MUFAs function better than those with more polyunsaturated fats.
Antioxidants are biologically active compounds that help fight serious diseases. Oleocanthal is olive oil’s main antioxidant, which has been known for its strong anti-inflammatory agent.
Olive oils contain approximately 13% of the daily value of Vitamin E. This essential vitamin has been know to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Now that we know some of the powerful properties of olive oil, let’s take a look at how those properties go a long way to protect our bodies and keep us healthy.
Health Benefit #1: Olive Oil is Good for Your Heart
The heart is a vital organ that provides your organs and tissue with oxygen-rich blood so they can function. Your heart is the engine that keeps you running, the pump that keeps you going.
Unfortunately, heart disease is an insidious and prevalent problem that people across the globe face. In fact, heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world.
Scientific studies prove that olive oil reduces inflammation, protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation, and prevents blood clotting—all factors that prevent heart disease. Studies also show that diets rich in olive oil are associated with lower blood pressure.[5, 6]
If heart disease runs in your family, including extra virgin olive oil in your diet can help keep your heart healthy.
Health Benefit #2: Olive Oil May Reduce Your Risk of Having a Stroke
On the list of common causes of death, strokes are the second leading cause of death in developed countries, right behind heart disease.
In 2014, a meta-analysis of studies including nearly 1 million people found that olive oil was associated with reduced risk of heart disease and strokes.
In another meta-analysis, nearly 150,000 participants were at a much lower risk of stroke than those who did not consume olive oil regularly.
Health Benefit #3: Olive Oil Reduces Inflammation
There is no end to the damage chronic inflammation does to the body. It’s been connected to prominent diseases such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer, to name a few.
An essential part of an anti-inflammatory diet, and a healthy lifestyle, is eating foods that help fight inflammation throughout the body. And olive oil is a key player in the fight against inflammation.
The main anti-inflammatory effects of olive oil are driven by anti-oxidants, oleocanthal in particular which acts somewhat like a natural ibuprofen.
A 2010 study even concluded that olive oil antioxidants can inhibit some genes and proteins that drive inflammation in the body.
Health Benefit #4: Olive Oil Has Antibacterial Properties
You’ve gotta love a good oil that fights off the bad bacteria lurking in your body. And it’s been scientifically proven that extra virgin olive oil fights 8 strains of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that lives in your stomach and has been linked to stomach ulcers and stomach cancers.
The results of that study suggest that virgin olive oil could potentially act as a chemopreventive agent for peptic ulcer or gastric cancer. More studies are needed to uncover the exact link between olive oil and stomach cancers.
Health Benefit #5: Olive Oil Has Anti-Cancer Properties
The key to understanding how olive oil works to prevent cancer in the body lies in its rich antioxidant properties.
Olive oil has abundant antioxidants that can reduce oxidative damage due to free radicals, which are believed to be contributors to the development of cancer. 
Although more research is needed to determine how olive oil in fact reduces the risk of cancer, many test-tube studies demonstrate that compounds in olive oil can fight cancer cells.
Buy the Right Oils to Boost Your Health
When you buy olive oil, be sure to consult the ingredients label. Of course, your goal is to buy olive oil that has no other ingredients added to it.
Another tip is to use extra virgin olive oil in your salad dressings. It is known to retain some of the antioxidants and bioactive compounds from olives that can be processed out of refined varieties.
Wondering which oils to avoid? Leave seed and vegetable oils on the shelf. Especially sunflower seed oil, peanut oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and grapeseed oil.
Want to eat more heart-healthy, healthy oils? Stick with macadamia nut, avocado, and unrefined coconut oils too!
For more ways to achieve simple, sustainable health, check out our recent article about some amazing (and often unknown) benefits of getting some good quality shut-eye, “4 Amazing Benefits of Sleep You Never Knew About.”
*The advice and/or products on drnasha.com are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness. Further, the information in this article is not intended to replace the recommendations of your healthcare provider or physician. Please review references cited at the end of the article for scientific support of any claims made.