A lot had been said about the benefits of extra virgin olive oil for our diet. It helps the body to fight against the development of cardiovascular diseases, strengthens the immune system and helps to reduce cognitive decline. All the more reason, then, for women who are expecting a baby to get to know the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil.
One of the main advantages of consuming extra virgin olive oil during pregnancy is its high content of oleic acid, which is very good for regulating bad cholesterol, reducing the risk of getting arterial thrombosis and of suffering a heart attack. It is also good for the circulation, which reduces the risk of arteriosclerosis. Besides this, it improves stomach and pancreas function. Finally, not only does it have a protective effect on the skin, acting as a tonic, but it also stimulates growth and facilitates the absorption of calcium and minerals. During pregnancy, the oleic acid and quertecin also stimulate the immune system.
In addition to all this, the omega-3 present in olive oil can help to prevent potential problems for the child, such as poor vision, premature birth, autism, attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity. Moreover, Omega-3 deficiency in pregnant women may have a harmful effect on the child's nervous and immune systems. This is particularly significant in the last 3 months of pregnancy, since this is when the nervous system develops most quickly. Omega-3 is also thought to have beneficial effects on the child's intellectual development, as well as helping to prevent diabetes later in life and helping with the development of the retinae and the brain.
Olive oil also has a high content of vitamin E, which is an essential nutrient with a potent antioxidant effect, capable of protecting the fat from free radicals. During pregnancy, it is an indispensable vitamin because it helps to lower the risk of problems arising in different organs in premature babies, such as the kidneys and the liver.
What's more, although initially extra virgin olive oil was not well known for this aspect, it contains oleocanthal, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to alleviate aches and pains during pregnancy.
Finally, there are studies which demonstrate that babies born to mothers who consumed olive oil during the gestation period showed better post-natal development than those born to mothers who did not, or who consumed it in negligible amounts. This data is reflected in the child's weight, behaviour, acquisition of psychomotor development and size during the first stages of growth.
Important: this information does not constitute medical advice. In case of doubt, consult your doctor.