Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Health Benefits
Olive Oil Health Benefits
A diet high in unsaturated fatty acids reduces blood pressure as compared to a diet rich in saturated fat. Among unsaturated fats it appears that both monounsaturated fatty acids (like those contained in olive oil) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fish and other vegetable oils) lower blood pressure. An Italian research in patients with known hypertension has shown that consumptions of 40 gm of olive oil a day reduces blood pressure by about 50% (almost half of the patients were able to reduce the dose or stop taking altogether their blood pressure medications). The beneficial effect of olive oil (especially the extra virgin olive oil) is attributed mainly to its polyphenols.
Cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis and atherothrombosis)
High LDL cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis and atherothrombosis, depositing cholesterol in the artery wall and clogging the arteries of vital organs (like the heart, brain, and kidneys). HDL cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol and acts as a scavenger, removing cholesterol from plaques in the artery wall. Reducing LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol has significant health benefits and protects against heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death. Consumption of about two tablespoons of olive oil reduced LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and mildly raise HDL (the “good” cholesterol). Beyond a favorite effect on LDL and HDL levels, olive oil has been two more benefits that reduce heart attacks and stroke:
- It prevents oxidization of LDL which renders it more atherogenic than its non-oxidized form. This beneficial effect of olive oil on lipids is mediated through its antioxidant components, especially polyphenols and vitamin E.
- It reduces the chance of “thrombosis” (clot formation) in arteries by reducing factors that either cause clotting (plasma factor VII) or inhibit break-down of clots already formed (plasminogen activating inhibitor).
Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
Olive oil reduces the metabolic complications of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. With its polyphenols and squalene components it reduces the high level of inflammatory activity present in both diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Thus, olive oil helps reduce LDL-the “bad”-cholesterol, lipid oxidation and high blood pressure. A diet rich in olive oil also facilitates glycemic control by leaving “less room” for carbohydrates (particularly “simple sugars” that cause insulin spikes and premature hunger attacks).
Inflammation and free radicals damage brain cells and impair synaptic function, contributing to the neurodegenaration and brain cell loss that characterizes Alzheimer’s disease. The squalene content of olive oils (along with its other antioxidants) has neuroprotective effects and does not allow oxidation of its monounsaturated fatty acids (which unfortunately occurs with polyunsaturated fats that may, thus, contribute to nerve damage). Oleocanthal, another olive oil component has been shown in scientific research to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Aging and longevity
Free radicals attack and damage cells and its constituents, especially DNA found not only in the cell nucleus but also in the mitochondria. It is hypothesized that olive oil with its antioxidant effects inhibit peroxidation and reduces mitochondrial DNA damage, preserving vitality and youthfulness. It appears that the oleocanthal component of olive oil significantly contributes to olive oil’s anti-aging effects. There is a report of a 120-year-old Israeli woman who used to drink a glass of olive oil every day!
Balsamic Vinegar Health Benefits
health benefits comprise reduced risks of heart diseases, cancer and other
infectious diseases. Moreover, balsamic vinegar decelerates the aging process,
controls diabetes, assists in digestion, etc. Balsamic vinegar retains
most of the nutrients present in the parent grapes and comprises nutrients like
iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium in adequate amounts.
Thus, incorporating balsamic oil in the daily diet will benefit one
immensely. Let us look at the different balsamic vinegar health benefits.
taking place in the human body to produce energy, conduce to formation of cell
damaging free radicals as natural by-products. Free radicals damage cell
membranes and manifest themselves in terms of premature aging, hardening of
arterial walls and cancer. Antioxidants from balsamic vinegar destroy these
free radicals and prevent cells from being destroyed.
The grapes from which
balsamic vinegar is formed is known to contain a bioflavonoid called quercetin,
which has antioxidant properties. Along with vitamin C, this antioxidant
strengthens the immune systems to fight cancer and other infectious
diseases and inflammations. Balsamic vinegar also contains polyphenols which
are anticancer agents.
Reduces Risks of Heart Attacks
Balsamic vinegar is
low in saturated fat and is believed to reduce cholesterol. Moreover, since it
is low in sodium, it enhances heart health and reduces high blood pressure.
Research reveals that
consumption of at least 5 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar a day enhances
insulin sensitivity. The greater the insulin sensitivity, the better the
Natural Pain Reliever
In ancient times, folk
healers used this vinegar to relieve people of their body pain. Moreover, they
also used balsamic vinegar to treat wounds and infections. The anti-bacterial
and anti-viral properties in the vinegar healed wounds.
The polyphenols in balsamic vinegar stimulate the activity of pepsin enzyme in the body. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme, which helps break proteins into smaller units (amino acids). Moreover, these polyphenols also assist the intestine in absorbing amino acids expeditiously. Efficient amino acid absorption enables the body to utilize it for cell building, repair and other body maintenance work. Thus, balsamic vinegar aids the digestion process.