Ok, so maybe a true Elixir is stretching it a bit far, but is it possible that the olive tree is responsible for allowing Greeks to live well into their 80’s while other cultures of the time had a far shorter life expectancy? Let’s take an analytical approach in observing some of the health benefits of Greek olive oil shall we?
The Healthy Fat in Olive Oil
At first glance at a nutritional label, most will notice that Greek olive oil is incredibly high in fat. Since the 1980’s, many people have had an unfounded fear of fat……rather we should say, a gross misunderstanding of what fat is and the role it plays in nutrition.
What nutritional labels won’t tell you is that olive oil is approximately 75% mono unsaturated fat (MUFA’s). Unlike its counterpart, polyunsaturated fat, MUFA’s are considered to be a “healthy” fat. Believe it or not, but saturated fats serves a critical role in maintaining the human body. In fact, ½ of all cell membrane structures are composed of saturated fat. Mono unsaturated fat in particular has been shown to enhance immune function and calcium absorption, along with aiding the body in the synthesis of essential fatty acids (such as omega 3 and 6), while also providing a rich source of fat soluble vitamins.
MUFA’s may also lower total cholesterol and the amount of low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) within the body. As LDL builds up within along arterial walls, the probability for heart disease becomes much more frequent. This disposal of LDL allows the high density lipoprotein (healthy cholesterol) to properly do its job without being impeded. In short, the mono unsaturated fat that is derived from Greek olive oil may play an integral role in preventing heart disease while promoting overall heart health.
The MUFA fun train does not stop there. In fact, MUFA’s have even shown signs that it will enhance the body’s ability to normalise blood clotting, which can be extremely helpful for those that suffer from ailments such as Haemophilia (the inability for blood to coagulate and clot).
Needless to say, mono unsaturated fats are incredibly beneficial for improving health, and Greek olive oil offers one of the most readily available and rich sources on the market today.
Greek Olive Oil and Cancer Prevention
Over the years, there has been extensive research on Greek olive oil and how it positively impacts health. Time and time again, health professional have published their findings and more often than not, credit the sensible use of Greek olive oil to reducing the effects of a sizeable list of ailments including cancer.
Obviously, the primary causes and remedies of cancer are unfortunately still something of a mystery, or else scientists would have produced a viable cure that applies to all cases, but the statistical correlation between the use of olive oil and reduction of cancer in certain areas of the world is noteworthy.
For instance, women from Greece have a 42% lower rate of breast cancer than women located within the United States.
There are most likely countless factors that play a role, but one possibility could be attributed to the liberal use of Greek olive oil within the Greek culture. Since Greek olive oil is relatively high in vitamin E, which has long been shown to help mitigate the risk of cancer, it is highly plausible that Greek olive oil plays a strong role in cancer prevention.
Throughout history, no other plant has been held in such high regards. Greek historians, philosophers, and medical professionals have been writing about the use of olive oil for thousands of years. Thanks to modern science we are able to finally deduce the very real health benefits of Greek olive oil. So while it may not be an Elixir of Life in the strictest sense, in that it does not provide eternal youth or eternal life, statistics suggest that Greek Olive Oil does promote good health and long life.