5 Reasons To Add Olive Oil To Your Diet
Rachel Pike

This essential nutrient has been far overlooked for many years, but now it’s time to re-discover the health benefits of olive oil and other unsaturated, healthy fats!

 Our bodies need fat.

In fact, it's an essential nutrient in a healthy, balanced diet (essential meaning, the body cannot make any itself). Fat helps the body absorb vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E -- fat-soluble vitamins that can only be absorbed with the help of fats. There are two main forms of fats present in food:


  • Saturated Fats -- found in red meat, margarine, butter, ice cream, cheese, and other dairy products
  • Unsaturated fats -- found in avocados, peanuts, nut butter, fatty fish, and vegetable oils


Some fats and oils have varying proportions of both saturated and unsaturated fats. However, in the arteries (blood vessels), too much saturated fat will cause cholesterol to build up, causing high LDL and raising the risk of heart disease and stroke. For a nutritious and balanced diet, aim to eliminate foods and beverages high in saturated fats and trans fats, and substitute some of them with unsaturated fats. Olive oil, for example.


Olive oil is a liquid fat extracted from olives, a typical Mediterranean Basin tree crop produced by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil. It is the most prevalent vegetable oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, in particular, is widely used in cooking, in frying food or as a dressing for salads. Some of the health benefits of replacing certain saturated fats with olive oil have been found beneficial according to recent research.


Olive Oil Benefits

The predominant fatty acid in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid which accounts for 73% of the total oil content. Studies say that oleic acid decreases inflammation and may also have beneficial effects on cancer-related genes. Other benefits of cooking with olive oil include:


      1. The Large Amounts of Antioxidants.

Antioxidants are compounds that can shield the cells from free radicals, which can play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Free radicals are molecules that are created when the body breaks down food or is exposed to environmental toxins that the body can not remove fully. The olive oil-based Mediterranean diet has been found to increase the body’s antioxidant levels to help remove free radicals that could be damaging and cancer-leading.


      2. The Strong Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation is, in general terms, the reaction of the body's immune system to an irritant. Although some inflammation is healthy — telling the body when and where something is hurt/needs to be handled — too much inflammation contributes to excessive pain and discomfort. Chronic fatigue, depression, mood disorders, and gastrointestinal complications are soon to follow if inflammation is not kept in check. And while Several things can cause chronic inflammation, certain dietary foods like Olive Oil may help reduce excess inflammation.


      3. The Heart-Protective Effects


Cardiac disease is the world's most common cause of death, and those adopting an olive oil-based Mediterranean diet have some of the world's lowest mortality rates. This may be due to the ability of olive oil to reduce blood pressure, boost blood vessel lining and stop unnecessary blood coagulation. The count of polyphenols in olive oil may also contribute to the cardiovascular benefits shown. Polyphenols are not essential but mere products of the metabolism of secondary plants. They do play essential metabolic roles within the human body, however. The aim of polyphenols was to minimize morbidity and/or delay the development of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and cancer diseases.


      4. The Brain-Boosting Power


    Alzheimer's disease is the world's most widespread neurodegenerative disorder. This progressive disease which destroys memory and other important functions of the mind allows brain cell connections to degenerate and die, and possibly destroy memory and other essential mental functions. Accumulation of amino acids, termed beta-amyloid plaques, within the brain cells is one of this disease’s main functions. However, one study in mice showed that an olive oil substance can help remove those plaques. Human research further showed that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil improved brain function.


          5. The Anti-Bacterial Properties


    Harmful bacteria like Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that lives in the stomach, have been known to cause ulcers of the stomach, and cancer of the stomach. This form of microorganism is immune to the treatment of antibiotics, meaning conventional medicine does not help (and even make things worse by wiping out other beneficial bacteria the body needs). Test-tube tests have shown that extra virgin olive oil battles eight strains of this bacterium, of which three are antibiotic-resistant.


          How to Add Organic Olive Oil to Your Diet

    It's incredibly necessary to buy the right sort of olive oil. Some of the antioxidants and bioactive compounds from olives are preserved by extra virgin olive oil. That is why it's considered healthier than the more refined olive oil variety. Even so, make sure you read the lists of ingredients and search for standard certification to find out what's in the bottle you're purchasing.


    Once verified and purchased, try incorporating olive oil as a replacement for traditional fats. Drizzle it over salad or mix it into a salad dressing. Use in marinades instead of melted butter for meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. Try a bowl of pasta with olive oil instead of heavy sauces, creams, or saturated fats. Play around with when to use olive oil to find the right flavour profiles to support a delicious and healthy lifestyle.


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