Is Olive Oil Good for Diabetics?
Hi there! Welcome back to my channel. I’m Dr. Ahmet Ergin. I’m an endocrinologist, diabetes educator, and metabolism expert. In today’s episode, we’ll be covering the topic: Olive oil benefits for Type 1 and 2 Diabetes.
Let me start with this. I have this one patient with diabetes. He told me this story. One day, when he was working, he received a forwarded text message from his good friend. It read ‘BREAKING NEWS: Olive oil is the next cure for diabetes!’ During his lunch break, he rushed straight to a nearby grocery store. Without wasting a single second, he grabbed ten bottles of olive oil. His heart was filled with hope. Finally, this was the cure for his diabetes… or was it? “Can olive oil really cure diabetes? Does it have any benefits for diabetics?” Those questions popped into his mind.
You may have similar questions. So I will try to answer them today! Let’s start with the basics. Olive oil is made from olives. That’s not shocking, right? Olives from tree crops are harvested, crushed, and the oil is extracted. This produces olive oil!
This craftsmanship was passed down from our ancestor’s ancestors. It was passed to our ancestors. Then finally to us. In ancient times, olive oil was so precious! It was even nicknamed ‘liquid gold’!
Many many years ago, there was this person called Hippocrates. Have you heard of him? He was a famous Greek doctor of ancient times. This is one of his famous quotes: “let thy food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be thy food.” So he used olive oil for more than just food. He was one of the first people to incorporate olive oil in treatment. He used it to treat the physical wounds and trauma of his own patients. Why? Well, he believed it had natural healing powers!
Olive oil was used for many other things: The rich would bathe in it. It was used as a base in perfumes and cosmetics! At one time, the champions of the Greek Olympics were given crowns. And these crowns were made from olive branches!
Till today, olive oil still holds many purposes. But let’s talk about the types of olive oils. There are five types: virgin, extra virgin, refined, extra light, and cold-pressed. Basically, extra-virgin olive oil is the highest grade. The higher the grade, the higher the vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. Today, I would like to inform you about the benefits of olive oil. Many scientists and researchers have studied the benefits. Especially for diabetics.
Firstly, olive oil contains healthy fats and nutrients. Due to this, it has many benefits! I will list out 5 benefits of olive oil for diabetics.
- Olive oil can decrease cholesterol and protect your heart! But not enough to replace your cholesterol meds! If you are diabetic, you may be more prone to diseases of the heart. So olive oil can help.
- It can possibly slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This is a disease that affects the brain. Alzheimer’s usually, but not always, affects older people.
- Olive oil can also reduce joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease that causes pain and swelling in your joints!
- Olive oil can prevent Type 2 diabetes. How about Type 1? Unfortunately, it cannot prevent type 1 diabetes. In fact, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. That’s because doctors can’t even tell who will get it and who won’t!
- Olive oil is still good for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Why? It can lower your blood glucose and HbA1c levels!
Do you wonder why olive oil helps your diabetes? Well, you can thank this compound called oleuropein! Oleuropein is found in olive oil. And it has a superpower! It can send signals to your pancreas to release insulin. This will regulate your blood glucose levels and metabolic rate. Since oleuropein is that good, let’s just eat everything that contains oleuropein! Why is olive oil so special?
That is an extremely good question. Well, unfortunately, oleuropein can only be found in olives. So, everything olives; black olives, green olives, olive oil.
And there’s another catch! Even wondered why we do not just eat olives straight. I tried eating a raw whole olive once. And I spat it right out! It’s extremely bitter and practically inedible. Thanks to the one and only, oleuropein! People have tried to dull this bitter taste by soaking it in salt and spices. Sadly, this process takes months.
Now I would love to show you some evidence about the benefits via previous studies. There are so many out there. I will just show you three!
Firstly, a research study concluded something. The participant group with the highest intake of olive oil had a 16% reduction in risk of Type 2 diabetes. They also discovered something else. One group of type 2 diabetics supplemented their daily meals with olive oil in this study. In the end, their HbA1c and fasting glucose reduced significantly! There are so many other studies out there. They use different methods. But the end result is the same. We will not cover them all today!
Next, a study was conducted with participants who were pregnant. They wanted to study gestational diabetes and how it is related to the Mediterranean diet.
For your info, Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy but usually goes away after birth. And a Mediterranean diet is a diet where olive oil is considered the main source of fats. It is also high in vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruits, and beans.
One group of pregnant women were asked to take this diet plus extra virgin olive oil and pistachios. Another group continued with their normal diet. In the end, researchers found that those on this special diet had a lower risk of getting diabetes during pregnancy!
This final study is rather interesting. It involves a condition called a diabetic foot. When your blood sugar stays high for the long term, this will damage the nerves of your feet. Because of this, you can’t feel pain well. And you may not notice small cuts or wounds on your soles. This might eventually become a foot ulcer that is prone to infection.
In this study, there were three groups. One group dressed their foot ulcer wounds with honey. Another group with olive oil. And the last group just had their normal dressings. After one month, the researchers checked their wounds to see how well they were healing. Those using honey and olive oil had better healing! Of course, this study was conducted and done under medical supervision.
So please do not try this at home yourself! Always seek professional advice before self-medicating!
Well, you now know the benefits of olive oil. Both for the inside and outside of your body.
What is the best way to take olive oil? It is best to use it raw in your salad or dressings. If you want to use it in your cooking, you can! But do not use high heat or this will destroy the good compounds in olive oil. Use low heat or add it near the end of your cooking. I recommend taking around 40ml a day, which is about 4 tablespoons.
In conclusion, olive oil has so many possible benefits. But it cannot cure diabetes! Always take your medications as instructed by your doctor. Please don’t replace them with olive oil! If you have any questions or doubts, ask your doctor or pharmacist!
Well, that’s all for today’s video. Thanks for watching! If you enjoyed it, don’t forget to like, subscribe and share this with your friends and family! Let us know in the comments below what you would like to see in our next video. Until then, take care and I’ll see you soon!
AHMET ERGIN, MD, FACE, CDCES, ECNU