May: Olive Oil

by Megan Mallon

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest oils on the shelf! Extra virgin olive oil is created by simply the pressing and squeezing of olives. Dietitian-Nutritionists classify olive oil as a healthy fat because the majority of fat content comes from nutritious fats like monounsaturated, Omega 3, and Omega 6. Olive oil also contains large amounts of Vitamin E and K.

Another great characteristic is that it is full of antioxidants that may help fight serious chronic conditions, such as protecting your LDL cholesterol from oxidation – high levels of oxidized “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood is a risk factor for developing heart disease (2). In fact, olive oil may help prevent and treat osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative joint disease caused by “wear and tear” from overuse and injury. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phenolic compounds found in olive oil  may help to prevent and treat OA and it’s primary symptoms of stiffness, pain and swelling (5).

Easy, Quick, and Healthy
Extra virgin olive oil can be used in almost every cooking dish possible; it is a universal cooking tool! It can be used in dressings, drizzled over meats and veggies, and even in desserts. An easy, quick and healthy way to use olive oil is just by mixing it with spices to use as an appetizer with fresh bread. Take about two to three tablespoons of olive oil and add a clove of garlic, a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese, and ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Mix everything together and dip your fresh choice of bread – make it multigrain or whole wheat for extra fiber! This quick and easy meal provides almost every nutrient category in only just on serving (1).

Another nutritious way to incorporate a healthy oil in your diet is by using olive oil in your salad dressing instead of vegetable or canola oil. Mix together 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon Dijon mustard, one garlic clove minced, ½ cup olive oil, ½ salt, and ½ teaspoon teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. This dressing is only 60 calories per 2 tablespoon serving. (2)

Extra virgin olive oil allows you to still eat all the foods you love, but instead of adding bad fats like saturated and trans fats, extra virgin olive oil provides the goods fats you need everyday in your diet (3).

References:

  1. 5 Delicious Olive Oil Dipping Recipes You Must Try. Stylecraze.
  2. Gunnars, Kris. “Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil is The Healthiest Fat on Earth.” Authority Nutrition An Evidence Based Approach, accessed 25 Apr. 2017.
  3. HOMEMADE BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE. Delicious, 9 July 2014, accessed 25 Apr. 2017.
  4. USDA Food Composition Database. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list
  5. Nsir H, et al. Polar and apolar extra virgin olive oil and leaf extracts as a promising anti-inflammatory natural treatment for osteoarthritis. Acta Histochem 2017 [epub ahead of print].
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