Is extra virgin olive oil the elixir of youth?

One thing the countries with the oldest populations in the world have in common is the consumption of extra virgin olive oil. Is the EVOO the mythical elixir of eternal youth?

Spain leads the ranking of the healthiest countries on the planet, according to a recent estimate from the American company, Blomberg, which specializes in statistics. This news has created mistrust among the countries at stake for this position, such as Italy, which Spain has superseded for the first time.

In addition, another report, in this case from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, ensures that Spaniards will be the longest living on the planet in 2040. This means that we will take the sceptre that the  Japanese have held for years and we will rise above Switzerland, Singapore, and Australia, until we are at the top of the world ranking of life expectancy, reaching 85.8 years on average.

These positive expectations are due, to a large extent, to the climate, social habits, and rest (such as siesta) and to food, where olive oil has much to say. How do the longest-lived people on the planet live and eat? This question is answered by Dan Buettner in his book, The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People. A common denominator of the lifestyle of these areas is the consumption of olive oil on a regular basis. This happens, above all, in countries such as Italy and Spain.
Many other studies and research reveal the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers over cells, among other health benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil..


Younger cells, stronger heart

The Heart Foundation lists the following among the benefits of olive oil:

  1. The consumption of extra virgin olive oil helps reduce cardiovascular risk.
  2. Helps control other disorders that increase risk, such as diabetes or obesity.
  3. Incorporating olive oil into the daily diet allows lipoproteins to be more resistant to oxidation (the oxidation process is one way to determine the development of coronary and vascular diseases; it causes inflammation and arteriosclerosis).
  4. Unlike polyunsaturated fatty acids, olive oil in the diet helps lipoproteins to be more resistant to oxidation, preventing the formation of arteriosclerosis plaques.
  5. Oleic acid, the main component of olive oil, helps lower LDL cholesterol (harmful cholesterol), without reducing HDL (healthy cholesterol) levels.

How can you get the most benefits from olive oil in your diet?

The Heart Foundation recommends consuming between 3 and 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily, taking into account that each serving is 10 millilitres. But how can you get the most out of it?

The best way to extract all the benefits of olive oil is to consume it raw, like in dressings or on toasted bread.

We can also get the most out of it if we use it for cooking. A recent study has revealed that by eating vegetables cooked with olive oil, the body increases its ability to absorb antioxidants from vegetables.

Speaking about extra virgin olive oil is always giving good news. You just have to follow one rule to give you all benefits that are attributed to it: consume the daily serving recommended by experts—between three and six tablespoons a day—preferably raw. 

You will age more slowly, and your heart will thank you.

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