The people of the Mediterranean have included extra virgin olive oil in their diet for thousands of years.
The ancient Greeks said that the goddess Athena had created the olive tree. Hippocrates called it “the great healer” and Homer called it “liquid gold”. Since ancient times, extra virgin olive oil has played an important role in daily life. It was used for religious offerings, as fuel for oil lamps, a part of trade and wealth, medicinally, in soaps, skin and hair treatments.
Today, it is widely believed that the Mediterranean diet which includes extra virgin olive oil, is attributable to lower rates of heart disease and longer life spans. There have been many research studies done, including those conducted by the FDA, which show the benefits of including extra virgin olive oil in your diet.
Most of the studies cite the monounsaturated fat in extra virgin olive oil as the reason why it reduces your risk of heart disease. The monounsaturated fat helps lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and maintain HDL (good cholesterol) to help remove buildup in the arteries. In addition, extra virgin olive oil is rich in a type of antioxidant called polyphenols, which helps reduce blood pressure.