The Mediterranean diet is a healthy lifestyle choice scientifically proven to promote human health preservation. Olive oil is part of the Mediterranean diet which is why people use this diet together with extra virgin olive oil for weight loss. Additionally, scientists have shown that the diet can lower the risk of many chronic and inflammatory diseases.

This diet is characterized by a heightened consumption of fruits, salads, vegetables, potatoes, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The common denominator in all Mediterranean diets is the utilization of olive oil as the main source of fat.

It is important to note, that not all olive oil is created the same. The health-promoting properties of olive oil are from extra virgin olive oil consumption. It has a rich nutritional profile and possesses a wide variety of positive health effects.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the Mediterranean Diet 

Olive oil is indeed part of Mediterranean diet. The diet features sensible, delicious portions and slower, highly enjoyable eating. Individuals who eat a Mediterranean diet have reported a wide variety of health benefits. The inclusion of extra virgin olive oil enables the diet to satisfy hunger quickly. This will result in a lower amount of calories consumed at mealtime. For this reason, some people use extra virgin olive oil for weight loss.

Extra virgin olive oil is unique because it can be consumed without the need for chemical processing. For instance, most of our vegetable oils have been refined and processed with solvents and steam. Unlike those oils, extra virgin olive oil is simply pressed at normal temperatures. This means it’s completely natural. And it retains all of its flavors, minerals, vitamins, and other healthy constituents of natural olives.

In 1958 a physiologist named Ancel Keys from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health noted that the prevalence of coronary heart disease was higher in middle-aged Americans than their European counterparts. He concluded that diet and lifestyle might be the major factors in those differences.

After he made this discovery, he went on to launch a seminal study. He selected participants from several countries – Italy, Greece, the USA, Yugoslavia, Finland, Japan, and the Netherlands. Following the election, he then proceeded to test his hypothesis.

To summarize his findings, Ancel Keys created what is now known as the Mediterranean pyramid. He noticed that olive oil is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet over all the region. He depicted his findings through the Mediterranean pyramid. The most important thing to note is the single unchanging component: olive oil!

Extra virgin olive oil plays a crucial role in bringing the most out of uncooked foods. People who follow the olive oil diet add it to their salads and legumes to access fat-soluble vitamins. That, plus the fact that it makes everything taste better.

 Young Woman Dressing Vegetable Salad With Olive Oil Over Green Natural Background

Why is Olive Oil an Integral Part of the Mediterranean Diet?

Scientists have done many studies to discover the benefits of Mediterranean olive oil . The findings indicate that there are a lot of benefits associated with its consumption. They also discovered that olive oil is packed with antioxidants. These help lower the risk of cellular damage that occurs as a result of oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

The body produces free radicals during metabolic processes. If left to roam about and accumulate, they will increase the oxidative load on the body and damage many cells. The cell damage can lead to a variety of diseases, including particular types of cancer.  As their name suggests, antioxidants prevent all this by neutralizing the free radicals.*

The Mediterranean Diet: A Divine Mix

The Mediterranean diet utilizes olive oil as its main source of fat. Individuals who follow this diet enjoy a higher life expectancy and a lower risk of suffering from and succumbing to heart diseases.  Several experts are on record suggesting that this diet should be the standard in preventive medicine. There is a large body of research suggesting that dietary habits and lifestyle patterns unique to the Mediterranean region lower the risk of chronic diseases caused by inflammation as well.

There are also several claims that olive oil can help those trying to manage their weight, resulting in many individuals taking extra virgin olive oil for weight loss.  Scientists have done studies to compare the percentage of cardiovascular events in people who follow the olive oil diet and those who don’t. The studies showed that those who consume the Mediterranean diet displayed a lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases than those who don’t.

Olive Oil and the Risk of Depression

In 2013, a study showed that the Mediterranean diet and olive oil can help support the nervous system and might lower the risk of depression and anxiety. In 2011, other scientists discovered evidence suggesting a high risk of depression in individuals who consume a high amount of unhealthful trans fats found in fast foods than in those who consume unsaturated fats, like olive oil.

Olive oil and the Liver

A 2018 review of a few research studies indicated that there are ingredients found in the Mediterranean diet olive oil that can combat liver damage.  The oil’s monounsaturated fatty acids, which mainly include oleic acid, and its phenolic compounds can prevent inflammation, insulin resistance , oxidative stress, and other factors that cause liver damage. While Olive Oil does play a major role in the Mediterranean diet, it’s only part of an equation. It is a crucial component in a divine mix of several factors that, when properly combined, help to  greatly benefit one’s health. A lot of research indicates that consuming this diet can significantly reduce the risk of early death.

Bottom line

Many people around the world agree that the Mediterranean diet has a lot of potential health benefits. Studies show that olive oil contributes to the Mediterranean diet, and most of them show that it is a critical component. It contains a variety of exceptional properties that assist the mind and body to function properly.

Do you have experience with the Mediterranean diet? If you enjoyed this article or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below and share your thoughts. We have created simple ways of attaining the health benefits of olive oil with a variety of supplements. You are welcome to get in touch with us so you can try any of them yourself and discover the true, undiluted power of olive oil.

Learn more about the Mediterranean Diet here at PubMed: the PrediMed Study Benefits 2015.

And, review the original PREDIMED Mediterranean Diet study published here.

* Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.