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Longevity

Longevity
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Can olive oil make you ‘forget to die’? It’s true that people live longer in some regions where they follow the Mediterranean diet, and scientists have studied the benefits of olive oil – specifically extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) – with respect to this phenomenon. “Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, rich in polyphenols,” says Dr Neal Shipley. “Polyphenols are known to be a valuable component of a healthful diet, fighting age-related diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease.”

Preventing stroke

Preventing stroke
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One of the ways to reduce your risk of stroke is to add more olive oil to your diet. “There are many studies to support that regular consumption of extra-virgin olive oil can lower risk of stroke,” Dr Shipley says. Research from France found that study participants who used olive oil regularly had a 41 per cent reduced risk of stroke compare to those who never used it.

Here’s how to act ‘FAST’ if you sense a stroke.

Heart health

Heart health
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Among the other cardiovascular benefits of olive oil are the effect of their monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which can help keep your ticker working well, according to the Heart Foundation. “Another recent study was able to demonstrate that olive oil consumption, specifically the extra-virgin variety, is associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and mortality in individuals at high cardiovascular risk,” Dr Shipley says. However, you only receive EVOO’s benefits when you replace unhealthy oils or butter with it – not when you add it to what you’re already eating.

Check out these supplements heart doctors take.

Smooth hair

Smooth hair
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The benefits of olive oil also extend to beauty hacks. As a natural conditioner, olive oil is nature’s cure for dry hair. Try massaging it directly into parched tips. “Another way you can take advantage of the hydrating nature of olive oil is by adding a few tablespoons of it to your shampoo,” says Larissa Iracheta, director of quality at Deoleo, the parent company of Bertolli and Carapelli olive oils. “This technique will help soften and strengthen your hair.” Olive oil works particularly well for thick, processed, or split hair.

Don’t miss these stylist-approved tricks for having the shiniest hair ever.

Better cholesterol

Better cholesterol
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One of the reasons EVOO is so good for cardiovascular health is because it reduces the cholesterol that clogs arteries. “In a study from the medical journal Circulation, researchers found that participants who consumed a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil had better working levels of HDL cholesterol, or ‘the good cholesterol,’ which aids in removing LDL, the ‘bad cholesterol,’ from one’s blood stream,” Dr Shipley says.

Here’s what you need to know about cholesterol.

Improving acne

Improving acne
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One of the daily habits of people who never get acne is following a Mediterranean diet that includes olive oil. Actress Chloe Grace Moretz credits olive oil with getting rid of her acne. “I wash my face with olive oil,” she told Allure.  “I swear my skin is so much clearer because of it.” In the same way olive oil can remove oil-based makeup (more on that later), it can help remove the oil from your skin. Plus, some studies have shown olive oil has antibacterial properties, which can help clear up skin infections that can lead to breakouts.

Make sure you avoid these innocent habits that almost guarantee acne scars.

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Warding off cancer

Warding off cancer
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Add EVOO to the list of proven foods to help prevent cancer. Olive oil’s antioxidants may keep abnormal cells from growing – and one study even showed a compound in olive oil to actually kill cancer cells. “Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil, has been shown to stop cancer-causing protein activity in brain cells,” Dr Shipley says. “Researchers are still determining whether the dietary intake of olive oil can provide this benefit.” Still, it’s worth it even for a potential life-saving benefit.

Treating dry scalp

Treating dry scalp
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If your scalp is dry in the winter, try another natural olive oil for hair treatment. Apply olive oil to your scalp and let it sit for an hour, or overnight (cover with a shower cap), then shampoo it out. But be sure that your condition isn’t actually dandruff, which is caused by an overactive fungus. If that’s the case, see your doctor or dermatologist for professional help, although eating more monounsaturated fats like those found in olive oil may actually help dandruff as well.

Check out these reasons for your itchy scalp (besides head lice).

Calming inflammation

Calming inflammation
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Another reason for olive oil health benefits may be that it helps lower the inflammation associated with so many medical conditions. “Polyphenols are anti-inflammatory,” Dr Shipley says. “One specific phenol compound, oleocanthal, has been known to act in a similar way as ibuprofen in the body.” While ibuprofen isn’t recommended to take long-term, olive oil can be part of a life-long approach to healthy living.

Preventing diabetes

Preventing diabetes
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Studies have shown that EVOO consumption reduces post-meal blood sugar levels in both healthy and diabetic participants. “High levels of sugar in the blood cause oxidative stress – this stress is a main component of diabetes,” Dr Shipley says. “Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants that can help diminish this stress, thus reducing the risk of complications of diabetes.” Also, a component found in olives called oleuropein may help to increase insulin secretion, which may control metabolism and help prevent diabetes, he says.

Read on to separate diabetes myths from truths.

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