I love olive oil—on my salads, in pasta, when I’m cooking up some veggies—so when I read this study about olive oil and how it can help lessen the risk of developing ulcerative colitis, I knew I just had to share!

Scientists recently found a link between oleic acid intake, which comes largely from Omega-9 rich olive oil, and a decreased risk of developing ulcerative colitis—a disease that affects the large intestine (or colon). It’s a chronic condition that involves inflammation and ulcers in the colon and rectum, and it can be pretty serious if left untreated.

Researchers estimated that up to half of the cases of ulcerative colitis could be prevented if oleic acid was consumed in higher quantities. Wow, right?! That’s not only amazing, but it’s so easy to do! In fact, they recommended just two to three tablespoons of olive oil each day for a protective effect.

Extra virgin olive oil is delicious on fresh salads, mixed with grains or pasta (gluten-free if you’re sensitive to gluten) and even for dipping sauces, so be sure to step up your daily intake for a healthy colon! Regular olive oil is best for cooking because it’s more stable for heating.

 If you can’t seem to get enough healthy oleic acid from your diet, look for an Omega oil supplement that contains a wide range of beneficial Omega fats—like Omega-3, 5, 6, 7 and yes, 9—to be sure you’re getting a balance of these beneficial nutrients.