As you may know, olive oil is essential in the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil has antioxidants, is a good source of vitamin E, carotenoids, polyphenolic compounds and oleic acid. You can find organic, domestic olive oil (using mostly California grown olives) or imported oils from France, Greece, Spain and Italy. You can cook food with it, or add it to your salad or in your dressings to enjoy the benefits.
Extra virgin and virgin olive oils posses the monounsaturated fats, nutrients, and phytochemicals that give you a lot of health benefits. “Light” or “mild” olive oil— suitable for cooking or baking— means it has undergone an extremely fine filtration process to remove most of the natural color, aroma and flavor. But this does not mean that this type of oil has fewer calories or less fat. I also recommend keeping olive oil in a tinted glass bottle and in a cool and fresh place so it doesn’t lose its properties.
Some studies show that olive oil can help to reduce weight because the smell makes us feel full. Yes, that’s right— the smell!
A study by Professor Peter Schieberle and other studies from Dr. Malte Rubach show that people who add olive oil to their meals can boost the serotonin hormone in blood. This help to feel fuller for more time and can help reduce your food intake per day. Scientists at Munich’s Technische Universitaet and the University of Vienna said this was due to an aroma compound not found in other fats and oils.
Health and Skin Benefits
• Olive oil may also reduce the risk of heart disease. According to Katherine Zeratsky, registered dietitian for the Mayo Clinic, the monounsaturated fat present in extra virgin olive oil can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
• Olive oil is rich in antioxidants. Many studies show that oleic acid and monounsaturated fatty acid from olive oil may help to prevent some cancers. Dr. Niva Shapira from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Bob Kuklinski of Rockstock University in Germany found that olive oil may help to prevent malignant melanoma (skin cancer).
• Scientists have discovered that olive oil contains an anti-inflammatory substance called oleocanthal and may reduce inflammation and help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease.
• Olive oil can help your skin look radiant due to the vitamin E and antioxidants from this oil. A study by dermatologist Leslie Baumann published in The Journal of Pathology found that olive oil can contribute to younger and radiant skin.
Moderation is Key
When you add some olive oil to your diet you have to remember that moderation is necessary because one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains 120 calories, 14 grams total fat, but no cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, sugar or protein.
I love olive oil and I add teaspoons in all my salads with some balsamic vinegar. As I’ve written in other articles, fat is necessary to lose fat! So add some olive oil and enjoy!