I come from Greece so I Know how precious is for health and diet olive oil. For us in Mediterranean is the gold of the earth.
Let’s find out why
What is olive oil?
Olive oil is a fat obtained from the fruit of the Olea europaea (olive tree), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean region, where whole olives are pressed to produce olive oil.
The oil is used in cosmetics, medicine, cooking, and soaps, and was also used as a fuel for traditional lamps. Although originating in the Mediterranean countries, today it is used worldwide.
Greece has the highest olive oil intake per person in the world. Greeks consume, on average, 24 liters per-person-per-year, according to acute pancreatitis (resource no longer available at www.aboutoliveoil.org) and protecting your liver. We also look at the nutritional breakdown of olive oil.
Nearly every nutritional researcher attributes at least some of the legendary health benefits of the Mediterranean diet to the copious amounts of olive oil included in almost every meal. Olives themselves are an ancient food, and olive trees have been growing around the Mediterranean region since about 3,000 B.C.
Olive oil joins foods containing omega-3 fats, like salmon and walnuts, for example, as an elite category of healthy fatty acids. Olive oil has a ton of research backing its health benefits — in fact, it’s so backed by research that the FDA even permits labels on olive oil bottles containing a specific health claim (to date this is only allowed on olive oil, omega-3 fats, and walnuts). That claim?
Scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil.
To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.
So what is it about olive oil that makes it so good for you?
To start, olive oil is very high in compounds called phenols, which are potent antioxidants capable of lowering inflammation and fighting free radical damage. Olive oil is mainly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids, the most important of which is called oleic acid. Oleic acid is known to be extremely heart-healthy in numerous ways, especially when compared to many other refined vegetable oils, trans-fats or hydrogenated fats.
Olive oil even has a step up in terms of heart health benefits compared to most grain-based carbohydrates — for example, high monounsaturated fat diets lower LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides better than carb-heavy diets do, according to some studies.
How much olive oil should you consume daily? While recommendations differ depending on your specific calorie needs and diet, anywhere from one to four tablespoons seems to be beneficial. Estimates show that those in the Mediterranean region probably consume between three to four tablespoons a day, and this is the amount that some health practitioners recommend to their heart disease patients.
Just remember that all olive oil is not created equally. Unfortunately, most commercial manufacturers that are trying to ride the health hype on olive oil have rushed to the market with all kinds of fake olive oils, which are imitations and inferior products. The problem is these oils aren’t always harvested or processed properly, which can kill many of their delicate nutrients and turn some of their fatty acids rancid or toxic.
Here’s what really makes a big difference: Look for labels that indicate your oil is “extra-virgin” and ideally cold-pressed. Olive oil is almost unique among oils in that you can consume it in its crude form without any processing needed (for example, you could literally press olives and enjoy their natural oils).
While it’s delicate and not necessarily the best oil for cooking, cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oil hasn’t been refined so it holds all of its natural vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and other nutrients better. While unrefined oil is separated without high heat, hot water, solvents and left unfiltered, on the flip side some oils are heated to a high degree, which reduces their benefits.
“Extra-virgin” and “virgin” olive oils — the least processed forms — also contain the highest levels of the protective plant compounds that provide antioxidant effects.
Research shows that greater adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet, including plenty of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 foods, is associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, especially heart disease. A striking protective effect of a Mediterranean diet rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from olive oil has been shown in many studies, with some finding that a Mediterranean-style diet can decrease the risk of cardiac death by 30 percent and sudden cardiac death by 45 percent.
Research from the Warwick Medical School also shows that when high blood pressure is compared with people eating more sunflower oil and those consuming more extra-virgin olive oil, the olive oil decreases blood pressure by significantly higher amounts.
Olive oil is also beneficial for lowering hypertension because it makes nitric oxide more bioavailable, which makes it better able to keep arteries dilated and clear. Another protective element is that it helps combat the disease-promoting effects of oxidation and improves endothelial function. Keep in mind that low cholesterol levels are worse than high sometimes, but people in the Mediterranean don’t usually struggle to maintain healthy cholesterol levels either since they obtain plenty of healthy fats.
Olive Oil benefits.
- Olive Oil Diet reduces risk of type 2 Diabetes
- Olive Oil might help prevent strokes
- Olive Oil keeps the Heart Young
- Olive Oil Fights Osteoporosis
- Olive Oil may protect from Depression
Helps with Weight Loss and Obesity Prevention
The Antioxidants in Olive Oil Have Anti-Cancer Properties
- Olive Oil found to help prevent skin cancer
- Virgin Olive Oil protects against breast cancer
- Olive Oil can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Olive oil may help protect from ulcerative colitis
- Olive Oil Does Not Cause Weight Gain and Obesity
- Olive Oil Can Help Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Olive Oil Has Anti-Bacterial Properties
- Helps Balance Hormones
Great for Boosting Skin Health
Olive oil is good for face and skin and you can use it as cosmetic if your skin is dry.
Powerful biological effects
- Extra virgin olive oil is fairly nutritious.
- Apart from its beneficial fatty acids, it contains modest amounts of Vitamins E and K.
- But olive oil is also loaded with powerful antioxidants.
- These antioxidants are biologically active and may help fight serious diseases
This includes antioxidants that can fight inflammation and help prevent the cholesterol in our blood from becoming oxidized, both crucial steps in the heart disease process.
Make Sure to Get The Right Type
The importance of getting the right kind of olive oil can not be overstated.
Extra virgin olive oil is the only type that contains all the antioxidants and bioactive compounds. It is the only olive oil we recommend.
But even so, there is a lot of fraud on the olive oil market, and many oils that have “extra virgin” on the label have been diluted with other refined oils.
Therefore, do some research and make sure that you’re actually getting real extra virgin olive oil.
Always look for bottles indicating that oil is extra virgin
It may just be the single healthiest fat on the planet.
Recommendation. Extra virgin olive oil Top products
Liviter Best Choice
How can we use olive oil in cooking?
Here are some ways to use olive oil:
- Drizzle it over salad or mix it into salad dressing.
- Use in marinades or sauces for meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. Oil penetrates nicely into the first few layers of the food being marinated.
- Add at the end of cooking for a burst of flavor.
- Drizzle over cooked pasta or vegetables.
- Use instead of butter or margarine as a healthy dip for bread. Pour a little olive oil into a small side dish and add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, which will pool in the middle and look very attractive.
- For an easy appetizer, toast baguette slices under the broiler, rub them lightly with a cut clove of garlic and add a little drizzle of olive oil.
- Replace butter with olive oil in mashed potatoes or on baked potatoes. For the ultimate mashed potatoes, whip together cooked potatoes, roasted garlic, and olive oil; season to taste.
- Make a tasty, heart-healthy dip by mixing cooked white beans, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor; season to taste with your favorite herbs.
- Use olive oil in your sauces — whisking will help emulsify or blend, the watery ingredients with the oil in the sauce.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Recipes
Pear Cranberry Salad Recipe with Olive Oil Dressing
Total Time: 5 minutes
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 large pinch of sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- 5 cups mixed lettuces
- 2 pears, thinly sliced vertically
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup raw goat cheese
- Put vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a jar with a lid, and shake well.
- Gently toss lettuce with sliced pears in a large salad bowl (Optional: grill pear slices briefly). Add enough dressing to just coat. Top with dried cranberries and goat cheese.
Source: Medical News today, mayo clinic, Warwick Medical School