More and more we are hearing concerns about obesity, heart disease and may other health issues. There are many that believe that healthy living, including a healthy diet may in fact be the key to well being. By lowering saturated fats and cholesterol, many studies have pointed to eating healthier foods, including healthy olive oil. By replacing other fats, such as butter and margarine, with olive oils, is the recommendation of the USDA.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, A Fresher Choice with Healthy Benefits
Olive oil contains a wide variety of valuable antioxidants that are not found in other oils. Hydroxytyrosol is thought to be the main antioxidant compound in olives, and believed to play a significant role in the many health benefits attributed to olive oil. Studies suggest that olive oil has a protective effect against certain malignant tumors in the breast, prostate, endometrium and digestive tract. Research has revealed that the type rather than the quantity of fat seems to have more implications for cancer incidence.
Evidence from epidemiological studies also suggests that a higher proportion of monounsaturated fats in the diet is linked with a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. This is significant because olive oil is considerably rich in monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid.
There is a large body of clinical data to show that consumption of olive oil can provide heart health benefits such as favourable effects on cholesterol regulation and LDL cholesterol oxidation, and that it exerts antiinflamatory, antithrombotic, antihypertensive as well as vasodilatory effects both in animals and in humans. Additionally, Olive oil protects against heart disease as it controls the “bad” levels of LDL cholesterol and raises levels of the “good” cholesterol, HDL.
As they are the least processed forms of olive oil, extra virgin or virgin olive oil have more monounsaturated fatty acids than other olive oil. These types also contain more polyphenols, which may have benefits for the heart.
Suggestions on adding more healthy extra virgin olive oils into your diet:
- Extra virgin olive oil is a great substitute for butter. Use on breads, potatoes, vegetables and when cooking.
- Extra virgin olive oils work well in salad dressing.
- Roast vegetables coated with extra virgin olive oils in the oven or place coated vegetables on the grill.
- Dress your food with extra virgin olive oil immediately after cooking. You’ll get more flavor and more nutrients from your oil.
- Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil sold in an opaque containers are the best to prevent exposure to light and preserve its phenol content.