Extra virgin olive oil represents the best way to dress salads, sauces and vegetables. In fact, this oil combats chronic diseases and protects the liver, proving valuable even in cases of fatty liver. This is what emerges from a very recent and very interesting scientific research that appeared in the journal Nutrients and published by an Italian team (Bonfiglio et al, Nutrients, 2023).
Extra virgin olive oil, the ally against chronic diseases and fatty liver
The study is very extensive and began in 1985, continuing until 2016, with regular checks on the health and eating habits of the 2754 participants, all residents in Southern Italy and with good adherence to the Mediterranean Diet. In particular, the aim of the scientists was to observe the effects of extra virgin olive oil in terms of protection from cronic diseases, with particular attention to those diagnosed with fatty liver. The scientists, through a calculation, tried to limit their attention to the action of extra virgin olive oil alone, excluding a possible influence of other healthy foods typical of the Mediterranean Diet. What emerged is that extra virgin olive oil, if taken regularly and in a dose of at least 2 tablespoons per day, has been able to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, thus extending life expectancy. The most powerful action was observed in the elderly and in those with fatty liver. In particular, in the case of fatty liver, the regular intake of extra virgin olive oil reduced inflammation in the liver, bad LDL cholesterol and insulin resistance. The beneficial effects were observed even if the intake of extra virgin olive oil increased the daily caloric intake, demonstrating that not all fats are the same and that extra virgin olive oil is a beneficial fat.
Conclusions and warnings
Scientists underline the importance of continuing with research and evaluating the benefits of extra virgin olive oil even in people who do not belong to the Mediterranean area. However, the study provides very important information, namely that extra virgin olive oil is more than a simple condiment but a true elixir of long life, capable of reducing the risk of chronic diseases and, as we have learned today, also of combating fatty liver, since it improves liver health and reduces the risk that fatty liver can evolve into other, more dangerous forms. This study is in continuity with other research which has observed that replacing butter, margarine and mayonnaise with extra virgin olive oil increases life expectancy. To have benefits, the quantity of extra virgin olive oil should be at least 2 tablespoons per day, preferably 3. Finally, remember to include extra virgin olive oil in a healthy and varied diet, without excesses and which also includes a high intake of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes and dried fruit, a lower intake of white meat and fish and a very limited intake of red meat.