Extra Virgin Olive Oil Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

An Italian study found that adding extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to foods reduces the glycemic index of meals, helping to protect against cardiovascular complications and Type 1 diabetes. The study evaluated whether fat quality, in the context of meals with high– (HGI) or low–glycemic index (LGI), influences postprandial blood glucose (PPG) response in patients with Type 1 diabetes. The results are published in Diabetes Care journal.

The extra virgin olive oil contains other bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which are substances with high antioxidant power which help prevent atherosclerosis and contribute to the many health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, including the good control of blood sugar after meals." Therefore, one or two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with meals can help moderate your blood sugar without excessively limiting foods that contain carbohydrates, even those such as bread, rice, polenta and potatoes have a higher glycemic index.” Both after fasting and after eating a good amount of glucose, glucose levels fall by up to 12% if accompanied by extra-virgin olive oil, as revealed by several studies carried out by the American Diabetes Association.

Olive oil is an anti-inflammatory food. Since inflammation is at the root of most if not all chronic diseases, using olive oil can reduce this inflammation and the damage that long-term inflammation can inflict on cells. Long-term inflammation is thought to play an important role in diabetes and the complications of diabetes. The primary substance in olive oil that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent is oleocanthal, which acts on the COX enzyme system in a way like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.

Olive oil is, as mentioned, high in antioxidants. Antioxidants can help diminish the damage that is due to the oxidative stress caused by high levels of sugar in the blood—and in that way, reduce the risk of the complications of diabetes, including diabetic neuropathy, retinal neuropathy, high blood pressure and heart disease.