What Is Olive Oil Good for? 5 Must-Know Benefits

You have probably heard that olive oil is good for you, but do you know exactly what olive oil is good for? This kitchen pantry staple is not just a versatile cooking oil. It also offers a ton of health benefits as well. Here are five things that olive oil is good for that you might not have heard of yet.

olive oil next to pizza

Olive oil contains high amounts of healthy fats.

While fats have gotten a bad rap in past years, we now know that it is essential to have a certain amount of healthy fats in your diet. Thankfully, extra virgin olive oil contains both kinds of healthy fats. It is very high in monounsaturated fats and contains some polyunsaturated fats as well. (Olive oil is also relatively low in saturated fat, which is one of the “bad” fats.) These health fatty acids are thought to be responsible for many of the health benefits of olive oil, which we will talk about more in the other sections. Learn more about what healthy fats are in our dedicated guide.

Olive oil contains nutritious antioxidants.

In addition to all the healthy fatty acids, olive oil also contains powerful antioxidants, such as oleocanthal and oleuropein, as well as vitamins such as E and K. Antioxidants are important because they protect the body from free radicals that cause cell damage, contribute to aging and increase vulnerability to disease. Antioxidants also contribute to olive oil’s anti-inflammatory effects and help to stop blood cholesterol from oxidizing. These high levels of antioxidants are one of the things that set extra virgin olive oil apart from other cooking oils.

pouring olive oil over toast

Olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties.

These antioxidants are largely responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of olive oil. In fact, the antioxidant oleocanthal that we mentioned above has been shown to work similarly to ibuprofen, one of the most popular over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. There is also some evidence that the oleic fatty acids in olive oil may lower inflammatory markers. This is important because chronic inflammation appears to be a leading factor in many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, heart disease and more — meaning that lowering inflammation could potentially lower the risk of these diseases as well.

Olive oil has antibacterial properties.

While you may have heard of the anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil, lesser known are the antibacterial properties. In fact, olive oil contains compounds that can kill harmful bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori lives in people’s stomachs and has been known to cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancers. In a test tube study, olive oil was shown to be effective against eight different strands of this bacteria, including three that had developed resistance to antibiotics. Regularly consuming olive oil may help to keep this harmful bacteria in check.

brightland extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil contributes to heart health.

Heart disease, which encompasses conditions such as heart attacks and coronary artery disease, is the leading cause of death in the United States. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and related conditions all contribute to the chances of developing heart disease. Fortunately, studies have found that people who eat a Mediterranean diet — which uses olive oil as one of the main fats — have a lower risk of developing these conditions. This is thought to stem largely from olive oil’s anti-inflammatory effects, which help to manage cholesterol and blood sugar.

If you want to get these kinds of benefits from your olive oil, then you should choose an extra virgin olive oil for the best results. Extra virgin olive oils have not been treated with heat or refined with chemicals, which means that they have the highest levels of nutritious compounds possible. This is why we never refine or heat our flavored olive oils before we ship them to you. In fact, we start processing our Brightland olives within 90 minutes of harvesting to ensure that the olive oil is bottled at the peak of freshness. Order our olive oils today to taste the difference!