The top 13 benefits of extra-virgin olive oil 

Olive oil is found in most home kitchens and is one of the most oft-used ingredients. From frying an egg to tossing a salad, olive oil can be either the base or the star of a dish. Not only does extra-virgin olive oil have a delicious, distinctive taste, but its beneficial properties are much more powerful than you might imagine.
1. Olive oil may help fight serious diseases
Olive oil's properties and nutrients make it a defense against illnesses defined by chronic inflammation, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and arthritis, according to Authority Nutrition
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2. Olive oil is anti-inflammatory
Authority Nutrition explains olive oil contains powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants. In fact, these antioxidants are so strong, their effect is equal to 10 percent of the adult ibuprofen dosage for pain relief. So next time you have a headache, skip the pills and take a tablespoon of olive oil. 
3. Olive oil may help prevent cardiovascular diseases
The Mediterranean diet, in which olive oil features prominently, is known around the world for helping protect against cardiovascular disease. Authority Nutrition reports that one major study found the Mediterranean diet reduces heart attacks, stroke and death by 30 percent. Why not start today? Have a delicious salad of leafy greens, tomatoes and a lean protein like fish or chicken. Finish your tasty meal with a drizzle of olive oil and voilà! You're on your way to a healthier heart.
4. Olive oil may help reduce bad cholesterol
According to Healthy and Natural World, the antioxidants in olive oil help regulate cholesterol and reduce the bad LDL cholesterol that can lead to cardiovascular diseases and other chronic problems. Some studies suggest that by consuming two tablespoons of olive oil daily, you can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. 
5. Olive oil may prevent some forms of cancer
As Olive Oil Times explains, the monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil protect against the development of breast cancer. These monounsaturated fatty acids are also rich in antioxidants and other compounds that may keep tumors at bay. 
6. Olive oil may help with diabetes
By adhering to a Mediterranean diet, you might reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by a whole 50 percent, according to a study published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care. Healthy and Natural World explains the study's conclusions, which found the monounsaturated fats in olive oil are the key fighting agents. 
7. Olive oil may prevent Alzheimer's disease
Amazingly, an antioxidant compound in olive oil has been found to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and the general cognitive decline that happens when a person ages. Other elements of olive oil can actually reverse some of the damage that occurs during the aging process, reports the Olive Oil Times.
8. Olive oil may help with osteoporosis
Osteoporosis occurs when the bone tissue becomes fragile. Patients with osteoporosis lose bone mass, making their bones more prone to breaking. According to the Olive Oil Times, olive oil can actually help retain the thickness of bones and fight against the debilitating effects of osteoporosis. 
9. Olive oil may help with metabolic syndrome
Abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and high blood sugar are the defining features of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and even sudden death, according to Olive Oil Times. Fortunately, studies have found that by simply switching to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, people can reduce their risk of metabolic syndrome. 
10. Olive oil may have digestive benefits
Olive oil is healthy for the digestive tract, according to The World's Healthiest Foods. Olive oil appears to help protect the lower digestive tract against colon cancer and may be effective in slowing the growth of unwanted bacteria that can cause infections and other digestive problems like stomach ulcers. 
11. Olive oil is good for your skin
Olive oil is a wonder for the skin. Not only is it a natural moisturizer, but olive oil is also helpful in treating microbial skin infections, even those as serious as staph. Studies have found that a mixture of oil, beeswax and honey is effective in treating serious skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, according to How Stuff Works.
12. Olive oil may help with depression
One study found that people who consumed more hydrogenated fats found in processed foods had a 48 percent risk of developing depression, while those who consumed more polyunsaturated fats like olive oil had lower rates of depression, reports Healthy and Natural World
13. Olive oil may help the health of the brain and nervous system
Olive oil is truly a powerhouse. In addition to all the above benefits, olive oil has been found to be good for your brain and nervous system, according to The World's Healthiest Foods. Olive oil provides a protective function to your brain against a host of imbalances. 
There are endless ways to adopt this super-ingredient into your regular diet. All it takes is some simple substitutions. Replace store-bought salad dressings with a simple and delicious homemade vinaigrette. You can customize your vinaigrette to make it exciting and different each time. Do the same for dips; instead of buying preservative-filled dips at the grocery store, make your own by blending beans, garlic and olive oil, or opt for a refreshing pesto made from basil, pine nuts and olive oil. It will taste better and be more cost-effective. Also, make an effort to replace butter with olive oil, especially when serving bread, sautéing vegetables or frying eggs. These simple habits can have astounding benefits for your health. 
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