Certainly, we have all heard of the Mediterranean Diet and an anti-inflammatory diet with all of the health benefits it offers, like lowering the risk of heart disease, weight loss, and increasing longevity.
One of the backbones of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil. Olive oil helps regulate blood sugar levels, reduces the risk of heart disease, aids in weight loss, and improves digestion. There are so many anti-inflammatories and antioxidants found in virgin olive oil, and this is one of the reasons consuming olive oil is significant when trying to improve your wellness.
What are the benefits of drinking olive oil in the morning?
Increasingly, olive oil is being linked to improvement in wellness and health, so here are my Top 5 reasons you should start increasing your intake of extra virgin olive oil today!
1. Increases Longevity:
A breakthrough research study in January 2022 showed that people who had a higher intake of olive oil had increased longevity versus people who rarely or never consumed olive oil.
Researchers found that there was a significantly decreased risk of multiple debilitating and common chronic medical conditions. This study noticed a decrease in the risk of cancer mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, and neurodegenerative disease (for example Alzheimer’s) mortality.
So not only does drinking olive oil decrease the risk of debilitating conditions which means a better quality of life but drinking more olive oil was found to also prolong lifespans. There is still a tremendous need for additional research in learning more about how olive oil increases longevity and decreases the risk the mortality. The best time to consume olive oil is in the morning as it helps prime your body for the normal physiological stress likely to encounter during the day. Many chronic conditions are linked to inflammation, and triggers of inflammation if poor diet and environmental stressors. By drinking olive oil in the morning, it prepares the body for these unintended daytime stressors that directly take years off our lives.
Dr. David Sinclair, a pioneer, and co-director of the Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School describes in the below video the potential link between olive oil and longevity. It is likely that olive oil activates a longevity enzyme called SIRT1, similarly to resveratrol (an antioxidant found in grapes). Namely, one of the explanations for the benefits seen in the Mediterranean diet and Blue zones.
2. Plenty of Polyphenols:
Polyphenols are big powerhouse compounds for tackling antioxidant stress. There are a lot of high-caliber studies that have shown that consumption of foods rich in polyphenols is linked to protection against many common diseases and chronic conditions.
It is believed that they are like “scavenger hunters”, blocking or combating free radicals that form during periods of stress within our bodies. Biological stress can be caused by illness, cancer, environmental toxins, poor mental health, hormone imbalances, and consumption of a poor diet. We face most biological stressors during the day as opposed to at night when our body makes an active attempt to rejuvenate.
Also, women who consumed more extra virgin olive oil were shown to have an improvement in their bone density compared to women who had not, even when considering consumption of vitamin D and calcium according to many research findings. There was a 2018 research study that made this key finding, and it is believed that this benefit is due to an anti-inflammatory process. So drink just a bit of olive oil in the morning and prime your body against any of the biological stressors it may experience during the day, but this is especially important for women due to the risk of osteoporosis which increases based on family history, age, and medical history.
3. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Level:
Olive oil has been found to improve your body’s response to insulin which decreases the risk of developing diabetes. When you drink olive oil in the morning on an empty stomach, it helps your blood sugar level become more stable throughout the day. This is important because an unstable blood sugar level for prolonged periods of time can lead to conditions like heart disease and diabetes, which are increasingly prevalent in the United States and many developed countries around the world.
The health benefits of just a small consumption of olive oil in the morning daily along with a healthy balanced diet with good fiber intake are significant in combating fluctuating blood sugars which are experienced most during the daytime due to activity, cortisol level changes, and meal consumption.
4. Improves Cholesterol Level:
Increased levels of LDL (the bad cholesterol) are linked to worsening cardiovascular disease risk, but olive oil is a monounsaturated fat that has been shown to help decrease our LDL levels. Extra virgin oil in particular has a significant amount of oleic acid which is an omega-9 fatty acid. Research studies have shown that oleic acid has been found to help increase our HDL levels (the good cholesterol). Higher HDL levels decrease the risk of cardiovascular and heart disease. So, this means it has two benefits for our overall cholesterol profile.
These healthy fats help protect the heart from damage caused by inflammation from bad cholesterol while also helping to increase good cholesterol levels, further highlighting the importance of the anti-inflammatory benefits found in olive oil. By drinking olive oil in the morning, this helps to better maintain a good cholesterol ratio during the day, as well as helps amplify the benefits of cardio exercise.
5. Aids in Digestion and Weight Loss:
Drinking extra virgin olive oil in the morning on an empty stomach has been shown to aid your digestive system. It helps your body break down food and aid in absorbing nutrients like vitamins and minerals more effectively. This is especially helpful for people who suffer from constipation and other digestive issues. The healthy fats, like oleic acid, found in extra virgin olive oil help promote satiety (feeling fuller faster) and reduces cravings. There is some evidence also that the antioxidants found in olives can help burn fat and aid in weight loss.
Drinking olive oil in the morning is a great way to start your day with some bonus health benefits and will definitely improve your health and wellness. Olive oil can help your digestive system, aid in weight loss, improve blood sugar levels, and decrease your risk of heart disease. So, next time you reach for a cup of coffee, try pouring yourself one to two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil instead (or too)!