Olive oil offers innumerable health benefits; one of them is maintaining the digestive system. It helps in the prevention of constipation, acid reflux and even acute ailments such as colorectal and pancreatic cancer. Here is a look at how olive oil impacts the various organs in the gastrointestinal cavity and the process of digestion.
Unlike other fats, olive oil does not loosen the sphincter of the esophagus that separates the lower digestive tract from the gullet. This prevents the reverse flow of stomach acids. Hence, it lowers instances of acid reflux.
Also, olive oil reduces stomach motility during digestion; hence it reduces the production of gastric acids. These get released into the duodenum at a slower rate. The end result is a feeling of fullness without overeating and better absorption of nutrients.
Olive oil enhances the functioning of the hepato-biliary system by ensuring better drainage of bile and heightened contraction of the gall bladder. This helps in fully emptying the gall bladder and the bile ducts, which in turn prevents the onset of gallstones.
It also aids in the enhanced functioning of the liver which plays a crucial role in digestion of cholesterol. It improves the synthesis of bile salts, the digestion of lipids and removes cholesterol from the liver. This helps in keeping ailments such as fatty liver disease at bay.
Dietary intake of olive oil reduces the workload of the pancreas while improving the efficiency of digestion. It is highly recommended in cases where pancreatic health and function needs to be maintained. So, it is found to be useful in preventing pancreatic failure, cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, cancer of the pancreas and malabsorption syndromes, etc.
Olive oil, with its sitosterol content, reduces the absorption of cholesterol by the intestinal walls, while enhancing the absorption of vital nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and iron. Since it is a mild laxative, it also aids in preventing constipation.
The colon not only plays a vital part in constipation but also it gets the most impacted by digestive problems. These often result in disorders such as fissures and hemorrhoids. Olive oil helps in the purging of fecal matter from the system and it protects the mucous membrane of the colon. Research has also revealed that olive oil contains phenols which inhibit colon carcinogenesis.