There is more awareness today about obesity, heart-related ailments, and other health problems, leading consumers to find alternative, healthier food options lower in saturated fats and cholesterol. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has also brought awareness as they have designed a food pyramid which contains olive oil as the principal fat, replacing butter and margarine.
Benefits of Consuming Fresh, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat (the good fat), a type of fat that lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), while raising HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Your diet supplies not just calories but information. The information delivered to your body’s cells by a diet rich in monounsaturated fat from olive oil will improve your sensitivity to insulin, lower your blood sugar, and help prevent fat from collecting around your middle.
On top of olive oil having the “good fat”, olive oil contains polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that benefits the heart, the arteries, the digestive system and cancer. There is a lot of clinical data that suggests the consumption of olive oil can provide heart health benefits, such as cholesterol regulation, and that it exerts anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, anti-hypertensive as well as vasodilatory effects. High quality extra virgin olive oil is really high in polyphenols. Generally, the fresher the oil, the higher the polyphenols.
- Instead of butter, use extra virgin olive oil on bread, potatoes or other vegetables.
- Rely on extra virgin olive oil as your first choice for salad dressing.
- Dress your food with extra virgin olive oil immediately after cooking. You’ll get more flavor and more nutrients from your oil.
- Only buy cold pressed extra virgin olive oil sold in an opaque container to prevent its exposure to light and preserve its phenol content (The Olive Grove only sells cold pressed extra virgin olive oil that is bottled fresh in dark, opaque bottles).