Olive oil is most likely not the first drink you think of when it is time to satisfy your thirst or improve your overall health. But if you want to live a long and healthy life like the people of the Mediterranean, it should become one of your go-to choices.
Drinking olive oil is a simple way to help improve your health. Olive oil may help fight off inflammation, relieve constipation, aid in blood sugar levels, and more. Only one or two tablespoons a day may improve your health in a variety of ways.
Olive oil has long been known for the health benefits it can provide those who add it to their food. This article will explain 5 of those benefits in detail.
Why Do People Drink Olive Oil?
Adding olive oil to some of our cooking is something many people have done for years. However, the idea of drinking olive oil on its own is relatively new in the modern world.
Despite the unfamiliarity that many people have with this method of consuming olive oil, a bit of research provides many anecdotal stories that make statements about how drinking this oil may help soothe the stomach, aid in weight loss, and help detox your body.
In fact, there are a growing number of people who believe that drinking olive oil will provide the body with more benefits than using it in a meal. For example, some people in the Mediterranean region will drink about 60 ml (1/4 cup) of olive oil every morning to harness some of its benefits.
We’ll discuss the scientific accuracy of these claims below.
The Potential Benefits of Drinking Olive Oil
While drinking olive oil on its own may not sound that appealing, some studies suggest drinking olive oil could offer several benefits to one’s health.
Here are a few of the potential benefits:
Helps You Get Enough Healthy Fats
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that between 20 to 35% of your calories come from fats, and it is best if those fats are “healthy fats”. The American diet is full of many unhealthy fats that harm the heart, but olive oil provides the healthy fats we need.
Since olive oil is one of the richest sources of monounsaturated fats, consuming more of it will help you meet your daily requirements. The monounsaturated fats are healthy for your heart, and several studies show how this can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
While you can also find these fats in several animal products, studies show that the greatest health benefits come when you eat them from plant-based sources like olive oil.
Adding a drink of olive oil to your routine could help relieve constipation.
In one 4-week study, 50 patients with constipated hemodialysis were given a teaspoon of olive oil each day. After that time, the patients noticed significantly softened stools.
In a second study, 414 people over the age of 50 found that almost 98 percent of those with more than three bowel movements each week had higher intakes of olive oil than others.
While these studies are relatively small, they do provide a glimpse into the powerful work that olive oil can do inside our bodies.
Helps to Stabilize Blood Sugar
For those who deal with diabetes or are pre-diabetic, learning how to stabilize your blood sugar levels can be a lifesaver.
Olive oil may be able to help with blood sugar stabilization. While it’s true that there are medications to help with this condition, many experts agree that your diet and the foods you eat matter most.
Whether you will see a difference if you consume olive oil on its own or in food is still uncertain, but some studies show how effective olive oil can be at reducing and stabilizing blood sugars.
In one study, 25 healthy individuals were followed. This study showed that the participants had a 22% reduction in their blood sugar levels two hours after consuming a meal with olive oil compared to the control group.
Supports Bone Health
As we age, our bones deteriorate. Whether we are active or not, our bones will start to deplete themselves of calcium and other important nutrients to help take care of other parts of our bodies.
Even for those who drink plenty of calcium and eat healthy diets, there is a big decrease in bones’ strength over time.
Olive oil may be able to help with this.
In one study that followed 523 Spanish women, it was found that consuming more than 18 grams of olive oil each day (either from drinking it or using it in cooking) resulted in an increase in bone density. This was in comparison to women who consumed less than 18 grams of olive oil each day.
The modern American diet can cause some big issues with our health, including significantly increasing inflammation levels.
This inflammation causes a lot of pain and discomfort, and is thought to be one of the biggest causes of serious health issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
There are several compounds found in olive oil that may be able to reduce inflammation through the body.
One of these compounds is oleocanthal. When you consume olive oil, the anti-inflammatory effects of this compound can offer some level of pain relief. It may not be as powerful as some of the over-the-counter pain medications you may take, but it’s still worth looking into.
May Reduce Risk of Stroke
A disturbance of blood flow causes a stroke to the brain due to bleeding or a blood clot. In many developed nations, stroke is the second most common cause of death behind heart disease.
In one large review of studies that involved 841,000 people, it was found that olive oil is one of the only sources of monounsaturated fat associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
And in a second review of 140,000 patients, it was found that those who regularly consumed olive oil had a much lower risk of stroke than those who rarely consumed the oil.
How to Drink Olive Oil
As you can see, drinking olive oil can provide you with many benefits.
But how much olive oil do you need to consume to receive these benefits?
The good news is that a little bit goes a long way with olive oil. And the benefits are similar whether you drink it straight or add it into some of your meals.
Many experts agree that drinking one to two tablespoons of olive oil before each meal may provide tangible health benefits. Some even recommend up to ¼ a cup each day to maximize results.
When deciding how much olive oil to consume, always be aware of the added calories. Also, if you have any dietary restrictions or health conditions, always be sure to consult the appropriate health professional such as your doctor or nutritionist.
Since you are not adding this into your meals, be careful about drinking too much. Olive oil is full of healthy fats, which also makes it higher in calories. For weight loss and health benefits, always pay attention to the number of calories you consume.
People all over the world have enjoyed the health benefits of drinking olive oil for centuries.
From including more healthy fats into your diet, to relieving constipation, to helping you feel fuller and more satisfied, drinking olive oil can improve your health in a variety of ways.
If you’re interested in drinking olive oil, it’s easy to find online or in your local grocery store and start using today. Be sure to check for quality though as many of the more “well known” brands most of us are familiar with are not really that great.