The Nutritional Benefits Of Olive Oil
Olive oil is an important component of the ultra-healthy, Mediterranean diet. It is one of the richest dietary sources of the monounsaturated fat, oleic acid, and a potent antioxidant called oleocanthal which provides a peppery zing to freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil.
The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil are reduced when glass bottles are exposed to light, however, and a bottle can lose 40% of its antioxidant potential during its average lifetime in the kitchen of ten months. Keep it away from the window, use it more frequently, and liberally (so it’s used up more quickly), pour it into an opaque oil dispenser or buy your olive oil in small tins to maximise its medicinal value.
Olive oil can lower blood pressure by as much as 7.91/6.65mmHg with regular use. In one study, 80% of people on blood pressure drugs were able to discontinue their medication after using 30g to 40g olive oil for cooking, every day for six months. Those using sunflower oil continued to need their antihypertensive treatment.
Heart disease & stroke
Results from 32 trials, involving over 841,000 people found that those with the highest intake of mono-unsaturated fats from olive oil were 11% less likely to die from any medical cause over the course of the studies, than those with the lowest intakes, with their risk of a heart attack reduced by 12% and the risk of a stroke reduced by 17% after taking other factors into account.
Oleic acid improves insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Replacing some dietary carbohydrate with 10g to 40g olive oil per day can help people with type 2 diabetes, and could potentially prevent over 90% of cases.
Olive oil was recently found to protect brain cells against degenerative changes associated with dementias, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and the age-related decline in blood flow that can affect your ability to think straight.
How to add olive oil to your diet:
When frying and roasting, use pure olive oil - a blend of refined and virgin olive oils that are more resistant to high temperatures and can be heated to 210°C before it generates smoke and off flavours. For gentle braising (below 180°C), drizzling on food or salad dressings, use Extra Virgin olive oil – from the first pressing of the fruit, which has the freshest flavour and the highest antioxidant content.
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