Get a whiff of this: Sniffing olive oil could help you feel fuller, finds new research from Germany.
People who consumed olive oil or ate an extract from its aroma showed higher levels of serotonin, a hormone that signals when you’ve had enough to eat.
Many people associate olive oil’s strong smell with a filling meal (like that huge Italian dinner you had last night), says Robin Dando, Ph.D., assistant professor at Cornell University. Plus, the aroma’s extracts may stimulate receptors in your gut to release serotonin, the researchers say. Studies have also shown that the smell of other foods, like strawberries and bananas, can trigger similar feelings of fullness.
But don’t just stock up on any old bottle of olive oil—you’ll reap even more benefits from the Mediterranean staple if you seek out the fresh stuff. The newer the oil, the more potent its antioxidants, which can raise levels of artery-cleaning HDL cholesterol, says a European study.