Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, found in the bodies of some plants and animals. It is a pale yellow or brown-yellow fatty liquid that smells similar to pork lard.
We know that the Mediterranean diet has an unbelievable health effect. This is due to a great extent to the food rich in olive oil that protects the heart from disease processes.
The beneficial effects of olive oil lie in its composition - it's exceptionally rich in oleic acid.
Oleic acid is a key component of the omega-9 fatty acids group. This group consists of 5 fatty acids. Among them, erucic acid and oleic acid play the most important roles when it comes to eating. Omega-9 essential fatty acids are essential only to a certain degree, they can be produced by omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Sources of Oleic Acid
As mentioned, the best source of oleic acid is olive oil. It's contained in olives as well but usually in small quantities. But after the olives are processed the concentration of oleic acid jumps drastically.
Rapeseed oil and grape seed oil are also rich in oleic acid. Many nuts and seeds contain oleic acid, meat too has significant quantities of it.
Still, meat isn't the best source you can procure it from because besides unsaturated, it also contains many saturated fatty acids. Omega-9 fatty acids can also be obtained in the form of food supplements.
Benefits of Oleic Acid
Until recently, oleic acid was mainly used as an emulsifier in cosmetic products but further clinical studies have ascribed it a much more important role when it comes to human health.
Oleic acid is a component in cell membranes, where it prevents the absorption of the saturated fatty acids that are responsible for a number of serious diseases.
Most experts posit that oleic acid is among the best fatty acids for people.
Oleic acid stimulates cell receptors to decrease the levels of bad cholesterol, while at the same time participating in the formation of a protective layer around the nerve endings.
The acid protects against cardiovascular diseases, lowers insulin resistance, thereby improving glucose metabolism.
It improves immune functions and aids the synthesis of antioxidants, in this way playing a vital role in the battle against certain types of cancers, and more specifically, breast cancer.
Oleic Acid in Cosmetics
Oleic acid is an excellent wetting agent and numerous cosmetics companies add it to their lotions and soaps to enhance their ability to nourish skin. It penetrates deeper and assures better hydration.
Dangers of Oleic Acid
Just because oleic acid is found in certain natural products, such as olives, doesn't mean that it's completely harmless to health.
There's no problem when it's procured from natural products but when taking various supplements without following the exact dosage, complications may occur.