I knew that olive oil was good for me, but until I put together this review of recent research, I didn't realize just how good it is:
Olive Oil Protects Against Depression
Researchers have demonstrated that the ingestion of trans-fats and saturated fats increase the risk of suffering depression, and that olive oil, on the other hand, protects against this mental illness.
Luteolin from carrots, peppers, celery, olive oil reduces age-related inflammation in the brain
A diet rich in the plant compound luteolin reduces age-related inflammation in the brain and related memory deficits by directly inhibiting the release of inflammatory molecules in the brain, researchers report. Luteolin (LOOT-ee-oh-lin) is found in many plants, including carrots, peppers, celery, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary and chamomile.
Virgin olive oil and a Mediterranean diet fight heart disease
Everyone knows olive oil and a Mediterranean diet are associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, but a new research report published in the July 2010 print issue of the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) offers a surprising reason why: These foods change how genes associated with atherosclerosis function.
Virgin olive oil protects against breast cancer
A moderate and regular intake of virgin olive oil, characteristic of the Mediterranean diet, is associated with low incidences of specific types of cancer, including breast cancer, as well as with having a protective role against coronary diseases and other health problems.
Olive, Peanut, and Grapeseed Oils May Protect Against the Development of Ulcerative Colitis
Oleic acid in one's diet may help reduce or prevent the development of ulcerative colitis (UC). Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, is present in olive, peanut, and grapeseed oils and may prevent ulcerative colitis from developing by suppressing inflammation by blocking chemicals in the bowel that aggravate inflammation.
Extra virgin olive oil extra protective
Eating a diet rich in the phenolic components of virgin olive oil represses several pro-inflammatory genes. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Genomics suggest that this partly explains the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease seen in people who eat a 'Mediterranean diet'.
Olive oil may help prevent, treat Alzheimer's
Oleocanthal, a naturally-occurring compound found in extra-virgin olive oil, alters the structure of neurotoxic proteins believed to contribute to the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's disease. This structural change impedes the proteins' ability to damage brain nerve cells.
Prevent cancer, use olive oil
If you want to avoid developing cancer, then you might want to add eating more olive oil to your list of New Year's resolutions. In a study to be published in the January 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists from five European countries describe how the anti-cancer effects of olive oil may account for the significant difference in cancer rates among Northern and Southern Europeans.