5 Surprising Facts about Olive Oil and Health

Olive Health


If you’ve ever gone to an upscale restaurant, the waiter may have poured olive oil into a little dish and left it on your table so that you can dip your bread in it. Olive oil is tasty with a satisfying mouthfeel, but it’s also popular because of its perceived health benefits. Some people believe olive oil helps with weight loss and reduces inflammation and is a healthier choice than other processed oils. Let’s look at some facts that you might not know about olive oil and its effect on health.

Olive Oil is a Healthy Source of Fat

Olive oil is one of the healthiest fats out there. It’s a reliable source of monounsaturated fat, which, according to research, may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Monounsaturated fats also help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol in your blood, which is favorable for heart health. The best approach is to replace other sources of oil and fat with healthier monounsaturated fats in olive oil.

Another benefit of olive oil is its oleic acid content–this component may provide some protection against some cancers such as breast cancer. Some research shows that oleic acid modifies the proliferation of breast cancer cells in a way that may reduce breast cancer progression. It’s an area that needs more research. Olive oil may even help you live longer! One study found that people who ate more olive oil had lower mortality compared to those who consumed less olive oil over 14 years.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Is Rich in Antioxidants

Olive oil also contains antioxidants that protect against damage from free radicals in the body. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce inflammation and may protect cells against damage that contributes to cell aging. Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin that helps prevent oxidative damage related to cellular aging and disease.

Most antioxidants in olive oil are in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), the highest quality olive oil. To make EVOO, manufacturers must use olives harvested without any chemical treatment (such as herbicides or pesticides). They also must extract it by physical means, such as centrifugation or pressing, and not using solvents or chemicals.

Extra virgin also means manufacturers must use no other production methods besides washing, decanting (which means removing unwanted solids), centrifuging (grinding up), and filtering (cleaning). Since these processes don’t involve heat or chemicals, they keep all those vitamins intact without altering their taste or smell.

Finally, extra-virgin olive oil should be free from adulteration with cheaper substances like refined oils such as vegetable or seed oils; industrial products like resins, waxes, or fatty acids, However, research shows that olive oil fraud is common. Companies sometimes dilute extra-virgin olive oil with cheaper oils to make a bigger profit.

A Chemical in Olive Oil Has Similar Effects to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs)

One of the most promising benefits of olive oil is its anti-inflammatory effects. Research shows a compound in olive oil called oleocanthal has similar anti-inflammatory properties as ibuprofen. This may be beneficial for reducing inflammation and pain associated with certain conditions like arthritis. Plus, olive oil has positive benefits, while NSAIDs can have side effects that are harmful to your health.

Italian Olive Oil is Likely to Be Fraudulent

You might think the best olive oil comes from Italy but think again! Italian olive oil has a high rate of fraud, diluting legitimate olive oil with other types of olive such as peanut oil or soybean oil.

Having fraudulent olive oil is not only confusing for customers but can be dangerous. Many people have allergies to peanuts and soybeans, and if they unknowingly consume these oils in their olive oil, they could have a reaction. This highlights the importance of carefully checking labels and being aware of the source of your olive oil.

The University of California, Davis Olive Center conducted a study in 2010 and found almost 70% of imported olive oils labeled ‘extra virgin’ failed to meet international and US standards. The report went on to state that many cases of fraud have been identified in Italy, but that does not mean all Italian olive oil is bad. It just means you need to be careful when selecting a brand and research beforehand.

You can buy certified olive oil from members of the California Olive Oil Council or check the list of extra virgin olive oil producers in Italy. Italian bottles of olive oil now have a QR code that you can scan and see the product’s origins from the olive tree to the table. Do your research so you can find a quality product.

Olive Oil is a Healthier Choice

When you compare pure, unadulterated olive oil with other seed oils, like soybean oil and corn oil, olive oil has substantial benefits. Extra-virgin olive oil undergoes no processing, unlike extensively processed seed oils. So, keep that in mind when purchasing oils to cook with or use for salad dressings.


No matter what grade of olive oil you purchase to toss on your salads or stir-fry veggies, keep the bottle in a dark and cool place for optimal shelf life to prolong its shelf life. It’s best to discard a bottle after 6 months and replace it with a new bottle to ensure you’re getting the full benefits. Enjoy olive oil but ensure it’s top quality!


  • “Monounsaturated Fat | American Heart Association.” 01 Jun. 2015, heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/monounsaturated-fats.
  • Alarcón-de-la-Lastra C. Olive Oil Antioxidants. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 May 19;11(5):996. doi: 10.3390/antiox11050996. PMID: 35624859; PMCID: PMC9137961.
  • Menendez JA, Vellon L, Colomer R, Lupu R. Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid of olive oil, suppresses Her-2/neu (erbB-2) expression and synergistically enhances the growth inhibitory effects of trastuzumab (Herceptin) in breast cancer cells with Her-2/neu oncogene amplification. Ann Oncol. 2005 Mar;16(3):359-71. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdi090. Epub 2005 Jan 10. PMID: 15642702.
  • Menendez JA, Vellon L, Colomer R, Lupu R. Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid of olive oil, suppresses Her-2/neu (erbB-2) expression and synergistically enhances the growth inhibitory effects of trastuzumab (Herceptin) in breast cancer cells with Her-2/neu oncogene amplification. Ann Oncol. 2005 Mar;16(3):359-71. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdi090. Epub 2005 Jan 10. PMID: 15642702.
  • “Study: 70% Of Olive Oil Is Fake – Stop Buying These Brands.” 08 Dec. 2016, newspunch.com/fake-olive-oil-study/.
  • Lucas L, Russell A, Keast R. Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal. Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(8):754-68. doi: 10.2174/138161211795428911. PMID: 21443487.

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