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Olive Oil: The Healthful Fat

Nowadays, you'd be hard-pressed to find a list of superfoods that does NOT include olive oil. In fact, it made the cut for Harvard Medical School's superfoods list. My family and I love olive oil because it's a great substitute for butter, margarine and other cooking oils. It's also great on salads. So what makes olive oil so great? It may be the only fat that experts agree is good for you, especially the extra virgin kind. Here are just a few health benefits of olive oil.

  1. It's packed with antioxidants and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidants in olive oil may reduce the risk for chronic illness. They also fight inflammation and protect blood cholesterol from oxidation, two benefits that may reduce the risk of heart disease. Chronic inflammation is believed to be a key factor in cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and more. One antioxidant in olive oil called oleocanthal has been shown to work like ibuprofen.

  2. It protects against heart disease. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the world. Extra virgin olive oil is a mainstay in the Mediterranean diet, which studies show significantly reduces the risk of heart disease. EVOO reduces inflammation, protects blood cholesterol from oxidation, improves the lining of blood vessels and prevents excessive blood clotting. It even reduces blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease.

  3. It has antibacterial properties. Studies show olive oil kills Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that lives in your stomach and can cause ulcers and cancer. WHOA!

Check out this Healthline article for more on the benefits of olive oil.

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