Olive Oil: 10 considerations

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Olive oil has been said to be the nectar of gods. It is found in most people’s pantries. It is the main component of the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil  is actually a liquid fat that comes from olives, but this monounsaturated fatty acid is the healthy type. It has been claimed to be the healthiest fat. Olive oil is popularly used for cooking in a salad dressing. It is also found in all types of cosmetics, soaps, and even used during religious ceremonies. It is the fuel for lamps. There have been countless suggestions for ways it can benefit one’s health. Below are 10 of the reasons olive oil should make its way into your diet:  

  1. It reduces inflammation. It mimics the effects of ibuprofen. This can help decrease the risk for breast cancer.  
  1. It lowers total cholesterol including LDL and triglycerides.  
  1. It is rich in antioxidants which help minimize the risk of cancer. It is very high in vitamin E.  
  1. It has been shown to lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure.  
  1. It helps lower bad low-density lipoproteins which in turn helps improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. This helps fight diabetes.  
  1. It has been shown to decrease the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.  
  1. It improves bone mineralization and calcification which can help fight osteoporosis.  
  1. It protects against heart disease.  
  1. It might fight Altheimer’s disease.  
  1. It can help kill harmful bacteria.  

It is important to note that extra virgin olive oil is considered the healthier version because it retains most of the compounds found in olives. However, the oil market often times mis claim the selling of “extra virgin” on the labels.  

Here’s a recipe for olive oil salad dressing you might want to try:  

2 c. olive oil 
1/2 tsp. parsley, chopped fine 
3 lg. cloves fresh garlic, crushed 
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice 
1/4 c. tarragon vinegar 
1/4 c. wine vinegar 
2 tsp. monosodium glutamate 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1/2 tsp. garlic salt 
Dash of black pepper 
2 tsp. dry mustard 
1 tsp. dill weed 
1/4 tsp. garlic powder 

*Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using.  

A little goes a long way with oil, so just because this is a healthy fat doesn’t mean it is a free for all for your taste buds. High fat does mean high calorie. Portion control is always a good tool to use no matter what the source. A salad with olive oil is certainly healthier than a salad with ranch, but is doesn’t mean this salad can be drowning in oil. Olive oil is a great alternative, better choice, and a positive decision towards your health.  

Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study (nih.gov) 

Olive Oil: History, Production, and Characteristics of the World’s Classic Oils in: HortScience Volume 42 Issue 5 (2007) (ashs.org) 

Virgin Olive Oil and Health: Summary of the III International Conference on Virgin Olive Oil and Health Consensus Report, JAEN (Spain) 2018 (nih.gov) 

Potential Health Benefits of Olive Oil and Plant Polyphenols (nih.gov) 

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Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY's Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she's an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She's also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.