Unlocking the Health Benefits of Olive Oil: Reasons to Incorporate it into Your Diet

If we consider olives as a type of fruit, does that mean olive oil qualifies as fruit juice? Though we don’t typically drink olive oil like apple or orange juice, its extensive historical use suggests its value. For centuries, it has been a staple in cooking, skincare, hair care, and even home remedies for various ailments.

Despite its reputation as “green gold,” some may view olive oil as a less healthy alternative to traditional fruit juices. However, regular consumption of olive oil offers numerous health benefits.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil boasts several health advantages, primarily due to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). These MUFAs have been linked to elevating “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels while reducing “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Among plant-based cooking oils, olive oil ranks highest in MUFA content.

Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties found in olive oil may aid in preventing arterial plaque buildup and protecting against harmful chemicals associated with chronic diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease.

Varieties of Olive Oils

It’s important to note that different types of olive oils vary in nutritional value due to variances in beneficial compounds like polyphenols and antioxidants.

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) contains the highest levels of polyphenols and antioxidants since it undergoes minimal processing. Conversely, other types of olive oils, which undergo more processing, lose some of these beneficial compounds.

Virgin olive oil (VOO), while slightly more processed than EVOO, still retains many polyphenolic and antioxidant properties but to a lesser extent. It also offers a milder flavor profile.

On the other hand, “light,” “pure,” and refined olive oils undergo more moderate processing, resulting in the mildest flavor and significantly fewer beneficial compounds.

Recommended Oil Intake

Daily recommended oil intake varies based on factors like age, gender, and activity level. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a 2,000 calorie diet should include approximately 27 grams (or just under 2 tablespoons) of any added oils per day.

Incorporating Olive Oil Into Your Diet

Here are some suggestions for incorporating olive oil, as a replacement for other fats, into your daily meals:

  1. Use it as a salad dressing: Create a simple yet delicious dressing by mixing olive oil with balsamic vinegar and mustard.
  2. Drizzle it over roasted vegetables: Coat your favorite vegetables with olive oil and roast them in the oven for a healthy side dish.
  3. Cooking with olive oil: While more refined olive oils can withstand higher cooking temperatures, extra virgin olive oil is best used at lower temperatures or as a finishing oil to preserve its flavor and quality.
Exit mobile version