Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of my favorite healthy fats. It is a liquid fat that is made by pressing whole olives. Since the flesh of olives is delicate it requires less pressure and lower temperatures while being pressed, this preserves the nutritional qualities of the oil compared to other oils. It is the only oil that can be extracted directly from the flesh of the vegetable and not the seed.
Olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat which helps lower cholesterol. It contains 90 percent unsaturated fats all together, including omega 6. This makes olive oil a good choice for your heart. A great example of this is that it is a huge component in the Mediterranean diet. Heart disease is less common in Mediterranean countries and after extensive research on their diet the results show that the heart disease risk is significantly reduced. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants, which help prevent cellular damage caused by free radical molecules. It is also anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is thought to be a leading driver of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and even obesity. Research also suggests that oleic acid, the main fatty acid in olive oil, can reduce levels of important inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein. Another great thing is that because it has high oleic acid and low linoleic fatty acid olive oil is slow to spoil, which means a longer shelf life. Olive oil also has antibacterial properties. It contains many nutrients that can prevent or kill harmful bacteria such as, Helicobacter pylori which can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. The results of test-tube studies with extra virgin olive oil showed that it fights eight strains of this bacterium, three of them are even resistant to antibiotics.
Olive oil can be used in a variety of ways. Use it for a salad dressing or toss your fresh vegetables with olive oil. Dip cucumbers in plain greek yogurt drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a great healthy snack.You can use it to cook your vegetables and meats in. Olive oil is even great on fruit salad. Chop peaches, plums, cherries, add chunks of dark chocolate and then drizzle olive oil on top with a sprinkle of sea salt for a delicious sweet treat.
When looking for a good olive oil make sure you are getting extra virgin olive oil. This is because this oil is from the first pressing and has not been chemically processed or refined in any way. If you pick one that says refined, that one has been chemically processed. Some of my favorite brands are Gundry MD’s and Kirklands from Costco.
As Dr. Gundry says, ” All food is just an excuse to add olive oil on it everyday.”
-Dr. Kenneth Akey