We often hear that olive oil is good for us, but in what ways? Olives and olive oil contain components that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which decrease the incidence of some diseases. These constituents of olives protect bone health and help with bone repair. Olive oil has been shown to allay osteoarthritic symptoms, and may even slow down the degenerative aspects of osteoarthritis by preventing cartilage damage. Olive extract possesses potent bone-protecting and eating olives or olive oil on a daily basis can slow down the decline of bone mineral density.
A Japanese study in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, analyzed middle-aged and elderly participants with knee pain who also supplemented with an olive extract. The participants experienced amelioration in joint pain, weight loss, and improvement in locomotion. In this particular study, the researchers concluded that the improvements in joint function resulted from the ability of the olive extract to reduce muscle mass loss.
Olives, olive oil and its constituents have great potential as a dietary intervention to help prevent osteoarthritis among the elderly. Osteoarthritis destroys cartilage, ravages joints and decreases joint function and mobility. The addition of this simple dietary option can be combined with physical activity to give a greater boost to slowing the progression of osteoarthritis, and to help decrease the risks that come with loss of mobility in aging. Incorporate more olive oil in your diet by making your own salad dressing instead of pre-made bottled dressings, try homemade pesto tossed with pasta or over meat, or make dips and marinades for vegetables. Choose extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) when possible, since it is unrefined, and not treated with chemicals or altered by temperature. Olive oil is a fat and, therefore, high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.