Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What are the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil? Olive oil has successfully made its name in the list of top healthiest oils in the world. In many parts of the world, olive oil is an essential part of the staple food. Olive oil is extracted from the olives, the fruit of the olive tree. It has quite a simple and easy extraction process; however, oil is extracted by pressing olives. But the modern methods are little different as it involves crushing of olives, mixing them and then separating their oil through in a centrifuge. There are three types of olive oil available in the market; refined, virgin, and extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is of the best quality as it is the least processed or refined type. Due to this reason, it is generally preferable to use extra virgin olive oil in cooking. In this article, we will focus on the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOL) is extremely nutritious and contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. It has plenty of beneficial fatty acids. Extra virgin olive oil is high in both monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fats. Therefore, a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil contains numerous health benefits.
Let’s have a look at the nutritional facts of extra virgin olive oil:
13.5 grams or 1 Tb of Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains 119 calories
Source of 0 g of protein
0 grams of carbs
Contains 13.5 g fat, of which 1.86 g is saturated
0 grams of sugar
0 grams of fiber
Vitamins and Minerals:
Extra virgin olive oil contains vitamin E and K in large amounts. Besides, it is also relatively rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are biologically active ingredients that help to fight against various diseases.
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Below are the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil:
Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory Properties:
Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent source of healthy fats and antioxidants. EVOO contains more than 30 types of phenolic compounds, a powerful antioxidant. Moreover, due to phenol, it has anti-inflammatory properties and therefore reduces numerous diseases caused by free radicals like cancer, Alzheimer's diseases, and heart issues.
Reduce Risk of Heart Diseases:
Extra virgin olive oil comes with powerful cardio-protective properties. Therefore, it can help to reduce blood pressure and prevent atherosclerosis. Researches show that olive oil can fight against the risk of stroke. Besides, the presence of many monounsaturated compounds in extra virgin olive oil can also help reduce cholesterol levels, therefore improving heart health.
Lower Risk of Type II Diabetes:
Olive oils are generally low in saturated fats; therefore, it can help to lower diabetes. Type II diabetes reduces insulin's effectiveness, a hormone that moves glucose out of the blood and into cells. Extra virgin olive oil can help in glucose metabolism and therefore improves the effectiveness of insulin. Moreover, it also contains vitamin K that can protect against insulin resistance.
Improves Bone Health:
As we have mentioned, extra virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols, thus preventing bone loss with aging. Researches show that high consumption of extra virgin olive oil can improve bone mineralization and calcification. Moreover, it can help to enhance the absorption of calcium and delay the onset of osteoporosis.
Fight against Cancer:
Extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidant content. Therefore, it can prevent free radical diseases like cancer and fight against them. According to the results of regional studies, areas where extra virgin olive oil consumption is high have a lower risk of breast cancer and cancers of the digestive system. Extra virgin olive oil has anti-cancer properties.
Good for Brain Health:
Another excellent health benefit of extra virgin olive oil is reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other age-related dementia. The presence of phenolic compounds in the extra virgin olive oil can reduce the cause of brain degeneration. It can promote brain health and cognitive ability.
Recommended Daily Intake
There is no doubt in the fact that extra virgin olive oil is extremely healthy as it contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. However, according to the FDA, when it comes to the recommended intake, its intake is similar to other oils intake that is half a liter per person per month. According to this figure, a normal person can consume one or one and a half tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil per day. Regular consumption of olive oil brings various amazing changes in your health and overall fitness level. Therefore, it should be a part of your daily diet.
Best Way to Consume
Whenever you buy olive oil, always give preference to extra virgin olive oil as it is least processed. Therefore, it retains most of its natural content and antioxidants. Moreover, it has a high smoke point of 376 °F (191°C) therefore; it is safe to use for most cooking.
Below are some of the best ways to consume extra virgin olive oil:
- Drizzle it on a salad or use olive oil in salad dressing
- You can also drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on the bread
- Instead of or regular oil, use extra virgin olive oil in bread making process
- Use olive oil for frying and sautéing
- Use EVOO in pesto
- To add flavor in any hummus, drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Recipes:
Some of the best extra virgin olive oil recipes include:
- Crispy rosemary and olive oil flatbread
- Spaghetti with olive oil, chili, and garlic
- Penne with pesto Trapanese
- Potato salad tossed in extra virgin olive oil
According to research, frying in olive oil can help to maintain and improve its nutritional value. This happens because food takes antioxidants from the oil. However, the best way to get maximum health benefits of extra virgin olive oil is by using it raw.
Tips to Store Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
Here are some of the great tips for storing extra virgin olive oil:
- It is both heat and light-sensitive. Due to this reason, it is sold in tinted bottles.
- Always buy smaller bottles that you can use within 3 to 4 months because its healthy antioxidants start to deteriorate with time.
- EVOO is extremely sensitive; therefore, it tends to go rancid. So, it is better to store it in a dry place away from light. Don't place it near the heat because the flame can deteriorate the quality of the oil.
- Pour small quality in another bottle for daily use and place the rest of the bottle in the fridge to prolong its life.
- In the fridge, extra virgin olive oil can go a bit cloudy; however, it will return to normal at room temperature.
There are not many side effects associated with extra virgin olive oil. Therefore, it is appropriately safe when taken through the mouth or applied on the skin. It contains up to 14 percent of your total daily calories. Although it doesn't have any side effects, it is always better to take precautions in advance to stay safe.
Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding:
There is not enough information about the safe consumption of olive oil during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is advised not to use olive oil in a greater amount during pregnancy.
Certain researches show that olive oil might lower blood sugar levels. Therefore, in case you have diabetes, always check your blood sugar level when using olive oil.
As we have mentioned above, olive oil can affect your blood sugar. Therefore, the use of olive oil during and after surgery can affect the blood sugar level. Thus, it is advised to stop the use of olive oil two weeks before surgery.
Is it okay to drink extra virgin olive oil?
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, as a result of which it comes with numerous health benefits. Therefore, it is a healthy addition to your well balanced daily diet. As far as drinking olive oil matters, it is safe to drink olive oil in the daily recommended limit that is a spoon or 1 ½ spoon.
What brand of olive oil is the healthiest?
Extra virgin olive oil is the least refined olive oil and therefore retains most of its healthy ingredients. Therefore, always try to buy extra virgin olive oil as it is extracted using natural methods and has certain sensory qualities like tastes and smell.
Is it okay to put extra virgin olive oil on the face?
There are no side effects of using extra virgin olive oil, and it is safe to use. Moreover, it is okay to apply olive oil on your skin when you feel dry. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best face moisturizers. However, keep in mind that it can block pores.
Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated compounds. As a result of which it shows numerous health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and improves heart health.