When olive oil reaches the
stomach it does not reduce the tonus of the muscular ring or sphincter at the
base of the oesophagus. Because of this, it reduces the risk of the flow or
reflux of food and gastric juice up from the stomach to the
Olive oil also partially inhibits gastric motility. As a
result, the gastric content of the stomach is released more slowly and gradually
into the duodenum, giving a greater sensation of "fullness", and favouring the
digestion and absorption of nutrients in the intestine.
One of the effects of olive oil
on the hepato-biliary system is that it is a cholagogue, ensuring optimal bile
drainage and full emptying of the gall bladder. Another effect is that it is
cholecystokinetic, i.e. it stimulates the contraction of the gall bladder, which
is extremely helpful in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the bile
ducts. It stimulates the synthesis of bile salts in the liver and it increases
the amount of cholesterol excreted by the liver.
In short, owing to its
beneficial effect on the muscle tone and activity of the gall bladder, olive oil
stimulates the digestion of lipids, because they are emulsified by the bile, and
it prevents the onset of gallstones.
When consumed, olive oil
produces a small amount of secretion by the pancreas, making this organ "work"
little, but efficiently and enough to carry out all its digestive functions.
Olive oil is recommended in diseases where pancreatic function has to be
maintained, such as pancreas failure, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis,
malabsorption syndromes, etc.
Owing to the sitosterol it
contains, olive oil partially prevents cholesterol absorption by the small
intestine. It also stimulates the absorption of various nutrients (calcium,
iron, magnesium, etc.).
Olive oil, therefore, is a fat that is digested
and absorbed really well. It has choice properties and a mild laxative effect
that helps to combat constipation and bad breath.