Bella Figura: the amazing health benefits of olive oil

In my last post, I celebrated the benefits of living life the Italian way – thanks to the wonderful book Bella Figura: How to Live, Love and Eat the Italian Way by Kamin Mohammadi. One of the top Bella Figura tips Kamin gives is to drink a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil, four times a day.  The legendary (and Italian!) actress Sophia Loren also famously uses it on her skin and hair, as well as in the bath. Bloomberg Global Health Index recently put Italy at the top of its list of the worlds healthiest countries.  Reading Bella Figura, and about Italy’s national love of olive oil, this comes as absolutely no surprise.

In fact, while you probably already knew that olive oil was good for you, you might be surprised to learn just how many health benefits it has. An essential part of a healthy Mediterranean diet, olive oil tastes so delicious – that is, when it’s not those insipid versions you tend to see in the supermarket.  Extra virgin olive oil is gorgeously green and peppery, and is definitely not yellow!

The benefits

Extra virgin olive oil is chock-full of:

  • Antioxidants, such as Vitamin A, and carotenes, which the body turns into Vitamin A: a double-boost for healthy, great-looking skin
  • Oleuropein, the sworn enemy of free radicals that damage collagen and contribute to ageing
  • Monosaturated fats, the most sought-after ‘good’ fats that lower cholesterol and control insulin, preventing blood sugar spikes
  • Essential fatty acids including Omega-3, which help to lower blood pressure

The research

Research shows that drinking more than four tablespoons of olive oil every day can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, or dying of heart disease – as well as protecting against cancers, and delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s.

PREDIMED, a well-known dietary trial that assessed the effects of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease, showed that extra virgin olive oil reduces risk of said disease, along with diabetes and insulin sensitivity. Meanwhile, scientists at Reina Sofia University hospital in Spain found that within just four weeks of replacing other fats with extra virgin olive oil, both visceral and deep belly fat is reduced. Both the British Journal of Medicine and the American Diabetes association have published studies to confirm this.

As if that wasn’t enough, olive oil has also been associated with a lower risk of mental illness, and there is increasing evidence that it improves the amount calcium in the blood, which could help prevent osteoporosis from developing. Not bad, for a humble oil!

While living the Bella Figura life definitely includes copious amounts of olive oil, it also includes good food, good sleep, love, community, laughter, fresh air…and moving well. So why not come and join us for a Stride session?  You’ll meet new friends, learn how to move at your best, and you’ll also be carving out some valuable time, just for yourself.

To find out more, simply contact us.