Updated: Aug 14
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has been famous for many benefits since ancient civilizations began to use it in their diets. Some claims handed down from generation to generation are mere hearsay and do not stand up to scientific analysis. However, it is now beyond doubt that EVOO has cancer-fighting capability especially against breast cancer. It is also believed to fight many types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, and that is associated with the way it helps the synapses in our brain to operate better.
It delivers many more health benefits too, as well as being probably the best cooking oil you can use. Here are some surprising findings that you may not have previously come across.
Extra virgin olive oil is a tough environment for microorganisms – but that is good
Every food contains a vast number of bacteria and other microorganisms in every spoonful. EVOO is no different in that regard. However, a team of microbiologists at the University of Sassari, in Sardinia have revealed extraordinary results when assessing EVOO.
Extra virgin olive oil is an extreme environment. The bacteria that live there could easily survive elsewhere, which means that they could be adopted in several fields of application.
That is according to Serevino Zara who was one of those microbiologists.
One potential application area for some of these microorganisms is to digest industrial oils on land or sea and convert them into substances that can be absorbed safely into the environment. Think of the difference that could make to helping clean up pollution.
Even smelling extra virgin olive oil can help you eat less!
Why? Well, it seems that research found that compared to other oils and fats, extra virgin olive oil was more likely to increase your feeling of satiety (fullness) after a meal. That would indicate that you are likely to eat less if you include EVOO in your meal.
This aligns with previous research that demonstrated how people are influenced to eat more or eat less, simply by changing the aroma characteristics of the same food. That does sound amazing but our senses of smell and taste are very closely related.
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EVOO raised male testosterone levels by 64% in this study
Not all studies are carried out on humans, at least not unless amazing results on other laboratory subjects suggest it might have human value too.
However, the amazing fact is that laboratory rats that were fed a diet of which 30% was extra virgin olive oil saw testosterone levels rise by 64% after 65 days. If that result were to be duplicated in humans it is likely that a large number of men would become major consumers of olive oil overnight!
Another study found that an olive oil-rich diet cut the risk of erectile dysfunction by up to 40%. All good news for men everywhere.
Can it really make you hair grow back?
It certainly caused the fur on mice to grow back in an interesting piece of experimental research. To understand how this might transfer to humans, it is useful to understand the cycle of hair growth and loss. This article explains both the growth cycle and also the findings of the research.
Finally, scientific proof that EVOO does indeed reduce your risk of heart disease
It has long been known that people living in the Mediterranean basin enjoyed better heart health than most other regions. This was credited to the extra virgin olive oil omega 3 and the Mediterranean Diet, which does contain olive oil as well as other healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, unrefined cereals and legumes such as peas, beans and lentils.
However, EVOO was not firmly identified as definitely providing this fantastic benefit. The New York Times reported in May 2020 on the results of a long term study of 31,797 men and 61,181 women who participated in two health studies beginning in 1990 and lasting for 24 years.
The statistics showed decisively that EVOO delivered a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and an 18% percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. That’s just from consuming half a tablespoon (7.5 ml) every day.
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