It seems like every week, different oils become trendy: flax oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil. These oils certainly have their benefits, but I mostly stick to my time-tested favorite, olive oil. I have blogged about the Mediterranean diet before and how I feel it sets the stage for a heart-healthy lifestyle—olive oil is just one of the reasons why this diet rocks! While I touched on olive oil in that blog, I am going to delve deeper here! You ready to learn to love olive oil? Here we go!
Olive oil is a type of monounsaturated fat—yes one of the healthy fats your body loves! The specific form of monounsaturated fat in olive oil is called oleic acid. Several studies have found that oleic acid helps reduce inflammation…and inflammation is the precursor to nearly every single disease—including cancer!
A lot of research has proven that oleic acid protects against heart disease; it lowers your LDL (BAD!) cholesterol, improves the function of the lining of the blood vessels, and may also help prevent blood clotting.
Olive oil is also loaded with antioxidants, which also help reduce inflammation. For example, one study found that the antioxidant, oleocanthal, found in olive oil, was as effective at reducing inflammation as ibuprofen.
Some of my clients are terrified of any fat, fearing that it will make them fat. But healthy fats like olive oil, are necessary for proper brain function and it is also necessary to help you absorb fat-soluable vitamins (vitamin D, K, A, and E). And as far as olive oil goes, a Spanish study examined college students consuming olive oil for three years and they did not gain weight! My recommendation is to use it combined with balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing. You can also use it as opposed to butter why you scramble your eggs or make your omelets.
You don’t need tons of it, a tablespoon here and there is the perfect amount.
Be sure that you are using extra-virgin olive oil; this type is pressed most naturally and has the highest level of antioxidants and can withstand heat better for cooking. Also, make sure it is in a dark colored bottle so that light doesn’t impact the oil—otherwise, it can go rancid rather quickly.
Cheers to your heart, your brain, and your overall health!