WHAT IF I TOLD YOU A SINGLE NUTRIENT HAS STRONG ENOUGH HEALTH-POTENTIATING EFFECTS THAT IT’S THE BASIS OF AN ENTIRE DIET? AND WHAT IF I TOLD YOU THAT YOU COULD ADD IT TO YOUR DAY FOR PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR? WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED? I THOUGHT SO

If a single food is popular enough to be recognized as a major player behind a very healthy population, then it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of reasons why. Though one tablespoon of this health food provides a whopping 120 calories, it may be what helps you to live to see 120 years old!

I’m talking about olive oil.

Olive offers a plethora of health benefits related to its’ fat, vitamin, and antioxidant contents. But even more, you can find this health food for practically pennies on the dollar once you understand what a serving size is, the right type to buy, and how to use it.

Read on to better understand why you should be greasing up your meals more often!

SUB HEADING

Rich in monounsaturated fats (nearly 73 percent of its composition), which help to protect against heart disease and work to enhance insulin sensitivity (your body’s ability to use glucose appropriately), this heart-healthy superfood is lesser known for the remainder of its stellar nutrient profile. Olive oil contains a significant amount of vitamins E and K (72 and 75 percent of your daily needs respectively), which both exert health-potentiating effects. 1 Vitamin E plays a significant role in removing free radicals generated by oxidative stress within the body whereas vitamin K plays a major role in blood clotting, but also a sizable role in healthy bone metabolism given bone health is reliant on several vitamin K-dependent proteins. 2,3

Furthermore, olive oil contains the phenolic compounds oleocanthal, as well as oleuropein, which have an anti-inflammatory effect and positive impact on LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, respectively.4,5

OLIVE OIL SHUTS DOWN HUNGER

Olive oil is rich in an omega-9 fatty acid known as oleic acid. Once oleic acid enters the small intestine, it’s converted to a molecule known as oleoylethanolamide (OEA), which may serve as a hunger sensor in the brain. OEA travels the blood stream and sends an appetite-suppressing message to the brain.6

OLIVE OIL (RICH IN OLEIC ACID) –> OLEIC ACID (SMALL INTESTINE) –> OEA OEA –> TRAVELS TO BRAIN –> REDUCES HUNGER

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TYPES OF OLIVE OIL

It’s important that you recognize all olive oil isn’t created equal. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to save up and only buy the bottle that cost over $100, but it does mean you need to be mindful of the specific type you purchase. You can still purchase high-quality olive oil for a fair price. You just need to be selective.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)– Extra virgin olive oil is extracted directly from the olive fruit using “cold pressing” techniques. It’s produced naturally, meaning that the oil extraction process doesn’t use any sort of chemical treatments. EVOO is treated like the finest of wines. It has the perfect balance of taste, color, and aroma, and the lowest acidity level of all types of olive oil.

Virgin Olive Oil- Virgin olive oil is also extracted without chemicals or heat using “cold pressing” techniques. The only difference between extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil is a slightly higher oleic acidity level.

Note: “Virgin” oil is also an indication that the oil is not refined and that it is of a higher quality and retains its natural flavor.

Pure Olive Oil- Pure olive oil is a misleading name. It’s actually a blend of extra virgin and refined olive oil. Olive oil ends up down this route when the originally extracted oil is of low quality. Blending it helps to enhance the color, aroma, and taste, but unfortunately, this combination is of lesser quality and contains significantly less vitamin E than a virgin version of olive oil.

Refined Olive Oil- Refined olive oil is obtained from olives using heat and chemical extraction methods (versus natural cold pressing techniques). Refined olive oil is virtually colorless, odorless, and flavorless, yet, has a long shelf life. Refined olive oil is nutrient-poor compared to extra or virgin olive oil, but that does mean that you won’t notice any bitterness when using, making it highly versatile in many different dishes.

Note: Canola oil has a much lighter flavor than olive oil. If you’re looking to add health fats to your day (in the form of oil) without such a strong taste, consider canola oil instead of a refined olive oil.

Lite Olive Oil- Lite olive oil is often mistaken for being lower in calories versus traditional olive oil, but what this description is truly referring to is its light color and neutral flavor. Lite olive oil is highly refined and as a result, of lower quality, and contains less nutrients versus unrefined, virgin olive oils.

PRICE FRIENDLY

A high-quality bottle of extra virgin olive oil can be found for $20 – $30 dollars. The most common size of these bottles provides 30 servings. If we assume you buy a higher-priced bottle (remember that quality is key) then we can state that a serving (1 tbsp.) of olive oil is roughly $1.00. It’s astounding enough to know that a plethora of health benefits are crammed into such a calorie-dense spoonful of food, but the fact that you can reap these benefits for roughly a dollar, that’s just absurd!

EASY WAYS TO INCORPORATE MORE OLIVE OIL INTO YOUR DAY

  • Coat the pan each time you stir fry veggies, scramble eggs, or pan-sear your lean protein
  • Add it to marinades
  • Homemade salad dressings
  • Drizzle of cooked lean proteins, high-fiber carbohydrates, and vegetables
  • Drink it straight (serious)

References

  1. USDA Food Composition Database. Accessed April 27, 2017. Retrieved from: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=20038.
  2. Pearson, D.A. (2007). Bone health and osteoporosis: the role of vitamin K and potential antagonism by anticoagulants. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 22(5), 517-544.
  3. Weber, P. (2001). Vitamin K and bone health. Nutrition, 17(10). 880-887
  4. Beauchamp, G. K., Keast, R. S., Morel, D., Lin, J., Pika, J., Han, Q. & Breslin, P. A. (2005). Phytochemistry: ibuprofen-like activity in extra-virgin olive oil. Nature, 437(7055), 45-46.
  5. Bogani, P., Galli, C., Villa, M., & Visioli, F. (2007). Postprandial anti-inflammatory and antioxidanteffects of extra virgin olive oil. Atherosclerosis, 190(1), 181-186.

Schwartz, G. J., Fu, J., Astarita, G., Li, X., Gaetani, S., Campolongo, P. & Piomelli, D. (2008). The lipid messenger OEA links dietary fat intake to satiety. Cell Metabolism, 8(4), 281-288.