Why should you incorporate Olive Oil in your diet?
Also, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil is the best for cooking or for adding to food, as it contains high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. Extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil has fewer chemicals and free radicals compared to regular oil, higher antioxidants, and plenty of good fats.
Monounsaturated fatty acids present in extra virgin olive oil are good for heart health and also protect the body against many chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2, atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries, hypertension, and even cancer.
The antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids present in olive oil function synergistically to reduce inflammation in the body which is associated with problems like arthritis, metabolic syndrome, and even Alzheimer’s.
It also contains some amounts of vitamin E and K. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and together with vitamin K is helpful in lowering the risk of heart disease.
Cold-pressed olive oil is rich in a healthy MUFA called oleic acid. This fatty acid helps to keep the oil from going rancid. One can store it for a longer time, especially compared to other cold-pressed oils.
Because of the many health benefits of olive oil, it has become a necessity in every household. Olive is a versatile ingredient and has been found used not only in food but also as massage hair oil and in face packs.
Nutrition Facts and Health Effects of Olive Oil
Olive oil is extracted from olives, which are the fruits of the olive tree. Olive oil contains healthy unsaturated fats.
One Tablespoon of cold-pressed olive provides:
- Energy: 119 kcal
- Total Fat – 13.5 gm
- Saturated fats – 2 gm
- Monounsaturated fats – 10 gm
- Poly unsaturated fats – 1.5 gm
- Vitamin E – 12.9 % of the Daily requirement
- Vitamin K – 6.8% of the Daily requirement
Cold-pressed olive oil has been found to be containing as many as 30 plant compounds. These compounds have been identified as potent antioxidants which confer many health benefits to humans.
1. Contains healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids: The health authorities recommend that around 25-30% of the total day’s calories should come from fats. Out of which 8% should be from saturated fats, 10-12% from monounsaturated, and 10% from unsaturated fats. Olive oil is a rich source of oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fatty acid. Olive oil also contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Oleic acid along with these has been shown to be helpful in reducing inflammation, blood pressure regulation, boosting immune response, and also reducing blood clotting.
2. Protective against Heart disease: A number of studies show that replacing foods high in saturated fat with olive oil may help to reduce high LDL (bad) cholesterol and also blood pressure levels, the two major risk factors for heart disease. One such study known as the Health Professionals Follow-up Study was conducted from 1986-2010, on 84,000 women. This study revealed that replacing even 5% saturated fats with monounsaturated fats (MUFA), such as those found in olive oil, reduces the risk of heart disease by 15%.
3. Cold-pressed olive oil retains good amounts of antioxidants, more than refined ones. This is because it is not treated with heat and chemicals. Antioxidants are substances that are helpful in the prevention or delaying of chronic diseases caused by cell damage, such as diabetes type-2, heart disease, and cancer. These antioxidants also lower the risk of blood clot formation and fat deposition in the arteries.
4. May help to promote Brain health: Mediterranean diet which uses high quantities of olive oil, along with low saturated fat and low salt diet has been shown to delay neurodegenerative changes. This diet is shown to improve cognitive health and memory. Researches suggest that oleocanthal, a chemical compound in olive oil, may help reduce brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Plant compounds in olive oil, such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, have been proven to be possessing powerful antioxidant properties. These may be the reason for the benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, which includes olive oil in high quantities, reduces risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases along with improving bone strength.
6. Long term inflammation has been proven by studies to be the cause of many chronic disease conditions: such as diabetes mellitus type 2, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer. Oleocanthal, a chemical compound found in olive oil has been shown to possess strong natural anti-inflammatory properties. In-vitro (test tube based) studies have revealed that it acts similarly to ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.
7. Other potential health benefits include: reduction in risk of developing Diabetes type 2, improved blood sugar management, relief from constipation and delay in the progression of osteoarthritis.
Replacing foods high in saturated fat — such as butter, shortening, and lard in daily diet — with cold pressed olive oil is an excellent place to start your health goal journey.
How can you use Olive Oil with your Food?
Drizzle the goodness of extra virgin olive oil over your salads, where flavor and fruitiness of olive oil are important or to stir fry cook your vegetable for health and taste.
Olive oil has relatively a higher smoke point which is between 365 and 410 F and is generally not impacted by household cooking. Research has found that extra virgin olive oil is the most stable cooking oil under heat when it comes to the production of harmful compounds, outperforming most cooking oils that have a higher smoke point.
One reason for this is that olive oil contains phenols and antioxidants that protect it from breaking down when heated. Extra-virgin olive oil can withstand hotter temperatures before breaking down and is therefore best suited for use in baking, or types of cooking where a neutral-tasting oil is needed.
How does it taste?
Olive oil has a delectable taste but the flavoring compounds in olive oil are delicate. Fresh and untouched extra virgin olive oil tastes fruity, bitter, and peppery. Most extra virgin olive oils simply taste better, but those that are cold-pressed, stone-pressed, and unfiltered taste even better. For salad dressings or other dishes where the flavor and fruitiness of olive oil are important, opt for extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil, which has the purest taste.
Ms Sunita Roy Chowdhury, Senior Nutritionist, Dietician and Nutrition Educator
Healthynudgez and Guiding Stars Open Learning Academy,
Under the banner of SS Guiding Stars Pvt. Ltd.
At Multano we are passionate about helping people make their lives healthier and happier. All information provided in this article is researched and authenticated by qualified experts. We are dedicated to providing reliable and accurate information to our readers. However, please use the information provided here with discretion. Any changes in medication/diet must be done with the approval of your treating medical practitioner/Dietician only.