Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
- PODCAST CHAPTERS
- Olive Oil Helps Diabetes In 8 Ways
- Components of Olive Oil
- 1. Olive Oil Improves Blood Glucose
- 2. Olive Oil Reduces Inflammation
- 3. Olive Oil Improves Cholesterol
- 4. Olive Oil Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- 5. Olive Oil Improves Liver Function and Insulin Sensitivity
- 6. Olive Oil Improves Heart Health
- 7. Olive Oil Improves Gut Health
- 8. Olive Oil Helps Satisfy Hunger and Ward Off Belly Fat
- Other Benefits of Olive Oil For Diabetes
- How Much Olive Oil?
- How To Use More Olive Oil?
- Choosing A Good Olive Oil
- ADDITIONAL REFERENCES
The evidence shows olive oil helps with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in many different ways. From its high anti-inflammatory capacity to its ability to assist with blood glucose and fend off belly fat, olive oil is really a superfood for diabetes!
So listen or read on as we explore olive oil’s superpowers in more detail.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
2:45 Unique Olive Oil Ingredients
5:24 Olive Oil Reduces Inflammation
7:18 Olive Oil Reduces Blood Glucose
8:29 Olive Oil Improves Cholesterol
10:27 Olive Oil Reduces Risk of Diabetes
11:02 Olive Oil Improves Liver Function and Insulin Sensitivity
11:32 Olive Oil Improves Heart Health
12:21 Olive Oil Improves Gut Health
13:10 Olive Oil Helps Satisfy Hunger and Ward Off Belly Fat
15:05 What Type, How Much & Cooking With Olive Oil
MEMBERS: Download the full transcript inside the members site.
Olive Oil Helps Diabetes In 8 Ways
According to research olive oil has 8 specific benefits for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes:
- Improves blood glucose
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves cholesterol
- Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
- Improves liver function and insulin sensitivity
- Improves heart health
- Improves gut health
- Satisfies hunger and improves weight control
Before we look closer at these research-based benefits, let’s look at the components of olive oil.
Components of Olive Oil
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat. The best type of olive oil is extra virgin olive oil and like all fats, olive oil is made up of fatty acids, mostly containing oleic acid at a rate of 55-83%.
It also contains over 100 known phenolic compounds, which make up 1-2% of its content. Phenolic compounds are a diverse group of naturally-occurring plant compounds that have various beneficial effects on our health.
One particular compound called oleocanthal is known to help reduce inflammation. There are also other phenolic components that are abundant in olive oil, such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, flavonoids, flavones, and lignans.
So all in all, olive oil has got some great components that help improve our health and have great benefits for diabetes.
1. Olive Oil Improves Blood Glucose
Oleic acid in olive oil promotes glucose transport into cells – this is one of the mechanisms that has been proposed to help with better blood glucose regulation.
Insulin resistance is also an issue in diabetes, so this mechanism is very beneficial, because it’s the cells that are insulin resistant and olive oil may help improve their response.
Other research shows that the antioxidant polyphenolic compound tyrosol found in olive oil, may protect against pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes.
Olive oil has been shown to help with blood glucose regulation, especially in helping to lower fasting glucose and A1c levels. Based on the results from systematic reviews the A1c reduction is about 0.27% and fasting glucose reduction is about 7.9 mg/dl or 0.44 mmol/l.
Olive oil can also have a positive impact on postprandial (post-meal) glucose levels as found in a 2017 trial. The researchers found that a meal containing olive oil was associated with reduced blood glucose after the meal when compared to the meal without olive oil.
KEY POINT: Olive oil improves postprandial, fasting blood sugar and A1c levels by improving cellular function.
2. Olive Oil Reduces Inflammation
If you have diabetes, lowering inflammation and preventing cardiovascular disease can be just as important and managing your blood sugar. And because olive oil is so anti-inflammatory, it can improve these areas as well!
Oleocanthal, is a specific phenolic compound only found in olive oil. And it’s this very compound that has natural yet potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Remarkably, research has shown that oleocanthal provides a similar anti-inflammatory response in the body as the commonly consumed over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen, so olive oil works well for dampening low-grade systemic inflammation without the potential side effects.
Olive oil has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers like interleukin-6 and TNF-alpha that are linked to chronic conditions like metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Although oleocanthal is the most strongly reported anti-inflammatory phenolic compound, olive oil also contains others such as Oleuropein, Hydroxytyrosol and Tyrosol.
KEY POINT: Olive oil is a potent natural anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammatory markers involved in cellular inflammation, which helps improve your diabetes health.
3. Olive Oil Improves Cholesterol
The reason why monounsaturated fats like olive oil are always called the heart healthy fats, is because they help improve cholesterol.
In particular, olive oil:
- Helps reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol – oxidized LDL is the type that causes more heart disease. The phenolic compounds in olive oil bind to LDL and decrease oxidation and reduce uptake of LDL by macrophage immune cells. These are the immune cells that often trigger LDL accumulation and plaques in the arteries, meaning olive oil has the potential to reduce cardiovascular risk.
- Decreases fat synthesis in the liver – which helps keep cholesterol levels under control.
- Reduces total triglycerides and increases HDL – meaning it helps reduce overall cholesterol levels and at the same time improve good cholesterol (HDL).
By the end of 6 weeks the group taking atorvastatin had a 20-40% reduction in lipids as well as a 9-16% increase in HDL (good cholesterol). Meanwhile, the group taking olive oil showed 14-25% reduction in blood lipids and had a 8-12% increase in HDL cholesterol.
This research indicates you get almost as much benefit from a natural therapeutic like olive oil without the risk of the unwanted health complications that statins can lead to over time!
KEY POINT: Olive oil reduces overall cholesterol and triglycerides, reduces oxidation of LDL cholesterol and increases HDL “good” cholesterol.
4. Olive Oil Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Another advantage of olive oil is its ability to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.
For example, a 2022 systematic review assessed 26 studies and found a significantly reduced risk of diabetes, which is obviously important for people without diabetes and those with prediabetes.
Other research shows that inclusion of olive oil in the context of a healthy overall diet can decrease risk of getting diabetes by as much as 40%, so that’s a pretty big reduction.
KEY POINT: If you have prediabetes, olive oil can help reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
5. Olive Oil Improves Liver Function and Insulin Sensitivity
Another reason why olive oil can help with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes is due to its benefits in helping to reduce liver fat and improve insulin sensitivity.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and insulin resistance are central in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes so its great to know olive oil can help improve these two things!
KEY POINT: Olive oil stimulates healthy liver function and improved cellular action of insulin.
6. Olive Oil Improves Heart Health
We’ve already covered the fact that olive oil can help reduce blood glucose, reduce and modify cholesterol, and decrease inflammation, all of which are beneficial for heart health.
Then there’s research showing that olive oil can also improve endothelial function—it helps improve the inner lining of blood vessels that perform functions that are crucial for our vascular health.
Not to mention its benefits for reducing oxidative stress. In fact, extra virgin olive oil is probably one of the most studied antioxidant food sources and we know that antioxidants provide a range of health benefits, including benefits for our heart health.
A massive 2016 study that included more than 2,500 participants found that olive oil consumption was associated with a 37% decreased risk for developing coronary artery disease. Wow!
KEY POINT: Olive oil improves your heart health in many ways, by decreasing cholesterol, inflammation, blood glucose, and damaging oxidative cells.
7. Olive Oil Improves Gut Health
Another advantage of olive oil is it positively influences gut health by decreasing pathogenic bacteria in our gut, which helps to decrease gut permeability or leaky gut.
Along with decreasing bad gut bacteria, olive oil stimulates the production of beneficial bacteria, including the increase of short chain fatty acids, which have a wide range of anti-inflammatory benefits to our body.
Olive oil also has a direct impact on decreasing production of inflammatory molecules in the gut, increasing antioxidant activity, which improves our overall immune function and metabolism.
KEY POINT: Olive oil wards off bad gut bacteria and stimulates your body to produce healthy gut bacteria, which improves immune function and metabolism.
8. Olive Oil Helps Satisfy Hunger and Ward Off Belly Fat
Last but not least, some evidence suggests that the oleic acid in olive oil triggers messengers linked to satiety and our appetite control.
And in the context of a healthy diet, olive oil can help improve body weight; especially helping to ward off belly fat!
That’s right, there has been some evidence to suggest that olive oil lowers visceral fat accumulation, that’s the fat that accumulates around the belly. Olive oil may help stop this by sending fat to other places, such as our subcutaneous fat.
This is a good thing because when we hold belly fat, this negatively affects our health much more than fat we might hold on our butt or thighs!
KEY POINT: Olive oil slashes hunger and stops belly fat in its tracks!
Other Benefits of Olive Oil For Diabetes
A 2019 review found that people with diabetes following a Mediterranean diet plan that included extra virgin olive oil were able to delay the need for blood sugar-lowering medications when compared to control groups.
How Much Olive Oil?
Aim for at least 1 tablespoon a day, which is around 25-30 ml. If you have a salad every day (which you should), then this is fairly easy to achieve.
Most research shows higher olive oil consumption of around 50 ml or 2 tablespoons is even better, but it might be difficult to achieve.
Overall, what the research also shows is that the benefits of consuming olive oil are based on consistent intake.
For example: If you only have one tablespoon once it is unlikely to have any benefit at all. But if you have a tablespoon every day or even every second day then it will generate cumulative benefits over time, particularly if you include virgin olive oil in a diet that also contains lots of other anti-inflammatory foods, like the ones listed over here.
KEY POINT: If you can aim for at least 1 tablespoon a day, you’ll reap the benefits of olive oil.
How To Use More Olive Oil?
- Make your own salad dressings with olive oil – to tell you the truth, I’m often lazy and just pour the olive oil and vinegar straight over the salad. I use either apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
- Drizzle some olive oil over your stir-fry, veggie omelet, or steamed veggies.
- Make a basil pesto – one of my favorites and filled with olive oil.
- Make your own mayonnaise with olive oil – super, super easy to do and makes mayonnaise a guilt free option.
Choosing A Good Olive Oil
Not all oils are created equal, so here are a few tips to choosing a good virgin olive oil.
As you can see by all the research presented above, olive oil helps with diabetes in many beneficial ways, including assisting with blood sugar levels, reducing cholesterol, decreasing inflammation, improving heart health, gut health, fatty liver and insulin resistance; and in those with prediabetes, olive oil helps reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.
Best of all, consuming olive oil also helps to reduce hunger and ward off belly fat. So if you’re not using olive oil every day, start now!
At least one tablespoon a day is recommended!