A recent study has shown that a diet including unlimited amounts of healthy fats is actually helpful in preventing heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer.
A meta-study led by US scientist Dr Hanna Bloomfield revealed that the "Mediterranean diet" – which is hugely based on a Greek diet, includes large amounts of monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids- lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 29 per cent, type 2 diabetes by 30 per cent and breast cancer by 57 per cent.
Monounsaturated fat is found in extra-virgin olive oil, and omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and nuts. Both are staples of the Greek diet, including large amounts of whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and small amounts of meat and dairy products.
Bloomfield said that the keys to a healthy diet include using olive oil as the main oil for cooking and adding to salads, plus eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, substituting fish for meat more often, and avoiding added sugar and refined grains.
"I would define a Mediterranean diet as a plant-based diet that has an emphasis on high intake of monounsaturated fats, in particular olive oil," said Bloomfield. "A high intake of legumes, fish, fruits and vegetables, and a low intake or a moderate intake of dairy and meat."
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, dubbed olive oil “the great therapeutic.” The ancient Greek physician identified more than 60 medicinal uses for olive oil.
Many recent clinical studies have demonstrated olive oil’s role in chronic disease prevention and other areas.
In order to gain the most health benefits from olive oil, it is best to use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), the only form of olive oil that retains its natural phenols (antioxidants) and other active compounds.
EVOO contains more than 30 phenols with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties.
10 Proven Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Can reduce the risk of heart disease
- Can help prevent type 2 diabetes
- May protect against breast cancer
- Aided weight loss in breast cancer survivors
- Can reduce high blood pressure and the need for antihypertensive medication
- Can reduce the risk of blood clots
- Reduces inflammation
- It helps relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain.
- Can help protect cognitive abilities
- Benefits maternal and infant health.