Here's 10 reasons why you should add more extra virgin olive oil in your diet + tips to make the most out of your oil:
- EVOO is good for your heart – the high levels of natural antioxidants found in extra virgin olive oil help to protect your body from free radical damage, increase good cholesterol whilst reducing bad cholesterol, reduce your risk of blood clotting, reduce risk of blocked arteries and reduce blood pressure.
- EVOO is anti-ageing – the high levels of natural antioxidants (such as vitamin E) prevent damage to your cells caused by free radicals and slow down the ageing process. Hello youthful skin!
- EVOO is anti-inflammatory – it contains oleocanthal, a natural anti-inflammatory that acts similar to ibuprofen. In fact EVOO is the only cooking oil which contains this compound. Including 2 – 3 tablespoons per day into your diet can help reduce the effects of inflammation in your body.
- EVOO helps control your weight by its satiating and satisfying qualities helping you to feel more full after meals. EVOO is also fabulous for your metabolism, decreases insulin resistance and decreases blood glucose levels. It also adds flavour to your meals making healthy sides like vegetables taste even better making you more likely to eat more = more nutrients = improved health.
- EVOO is a rich source of dietary oleic acid (a mono-unsaturated fat). Olieoiletanolamide (OEA), derived from ingested oleic acid increases satiety and helps to regulates appetite control.
- EVOO contains the highest amounts of antioxidants than any other cooking oil.
- EVOO is considered one of the richest renewable sources of squalene (supports cardiovascular health). Most commercial squalene supplements are produced from deep sea shark.
- Consuming olive oil with your coloured vegetables rich in carotenoids (such as sweet potato, carrot and dark green leafys) increases the absorption of their cancer fighting properties. (Carotenoids require dietary fat for absorption).
- Cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, kale and brussels sprouts possess cancer protective properties that are better adsorbed in the presence of fat, such as EVOO.
- 10. EVOO is rich in a-linoleic acid (an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid) and vitamin E that helps to reduce inflammation.
But not just any olive oil…
- Not all olive oil is classified as extra virgin (such as refined blends or ‘light’ olive oil) and wont have the same benefits as a good quality extra virgin. Choose olive oil that is labelled “Extra Virgin”.
- Choose cold pressed – olive oil that is cold pressed maintains its levels of antioxidants.
- Living in Australia I recommend choosing an Australian-made brand, not only to support local business but to reduce carbon mies as well as locally grown and bottled oil doesn’t have to travel a fair distance by the time it reaches the store and finally your home. The fresher and sooner you enjoy it after it is bottled the higher the amounts of antioxidants.
- Check your dates! Olive oil is best used between 12 – 14 months from time of harvest so make sure you check your product labels.
- To get the most out of the flavour and health benefits of EVOO consume within 4-6 weeks once opened.
- Avoid “light” olive oil – “light” here refers to the colour and flavour of the oil which is highly refined and wont contain high levels of antioxidants.
- A good quality olive oil wont leave a greasy feeling in your mouth.
Can you cook with olive oil?
- You sure can! There is much myth around not being able to cook with olive oil so I’ve got the facts here for you.
- The high levels of antioxidants found in EVOO keep the oil very stable during cooking.
- The smoke point of a good quality EVOO is between 200’C and 215’C which is actually higher than the typical temperatures you would cook at home with. (Sautéing is typically 160’C, deep frying is 180’c and oven baking around 200’C). Yes other oils might have higher smoke points but when applied to your cooking level EVOO is a great match for home cooking styles.
- Just remember to keep your olive oil AWAY from your stove – the oil is sensitive to heat!
So how much should you be eating?
Aim to have 2-3 tablespoons EVOO daily to benefit from its amazing health properties.
- Drizzle over cooked vegetables
- Drizzle over salad
- Massage your raw kale for salad with it
- Drizzle over chicken or fish before serving
- Cook your proteins in olive oil
- Saute vegetables
- t’s amazing drizzled over scrambled eggs
- Finish your soup with a drizzle of EVOO
- Roast your vegetables in olive oil
- Drizzle over your avo on toast
- Massage into your whole chook before roasting
- Add to your hummus, guacamole or your favourite dips
- Toss sweet potato chips in EVOO before baking
- Use in your homemade pesto
- Drizzle EVOO over halved cherry tomatoes and roast until soft
Really the possibilities are endless!
- Olive oil is sensitive to heat and light so buy brands that are bottled in dark glass and store in a cool, dark place (such as your pantry).
- A really good quality extra virgin olive oil might have a slightly bitter taste which can indicate the presence of antioxidants and is a good thing!
I’d love to hear your favourite way to use EVOO, please comment below the best ways you like to this nourishing oil.
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