The health benefits of antioxidant-rich olive oil range from lowering inflammation that are associated with elevated cholesterol levels; lowering blood pressure; boosting brain health and reducing the risk of stroke… and now new research has shown that it can also help control blood sugar and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Curbing the blood sugar roller-coaster
In this latest meta-analysis, German researchers pooled data from four cohort studies and 29 trials. They found that every time you increase your daily intake of olive oil by 10 grams, it reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 9 per cent!
In the study, diabetes patients who added olive oil to their diets significantly lowered both their fasting blood sugar and HbA1c (a measure of blood glucose over several weeks or months).
Now, you may be more familiar with olive oil as a staple of the Mediterranean Diet. But the Paleo diet also incorporates this healthy oil. The biggest difference between the two diets is that the Mediterranean approach restricts your portions of meat and includes some whole grains, while Paleo focuses heavily on meat and fish and pretty much eradicates carbohydrates altogether.
If you want to split hairs then I guess going Paleo is healthier because of its “back to basics” approach and more accurately reflects what our ancestors would have eaten as hunter-gatherer cavemen. For those suffering with diabetes, the fact that the Paleo diet eliminates grains, potatoes, and other carbohydrates is a far better option because these foods are known to send you on a rollercoaster ride of blood sugar and insulin spikes and crashes.
Focusing on Paleo-friendly animal proteins, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts can keep diabetes at bay – whether you’ve already been diagnosed with it or not. Add a healthy dose of olive oil and you may very well be on a winning streak in controlling your blood sugar levels.