The Health Benefits of Olive Oil – Part 1

One of the problems with so much unqualified dietary advice on social media, is that people can end up cutting out things that in fact, provide their body with essential nutrients.

Today we embrace fat, which, after having been blacklisted for so long, is thankfully experiencing a bit of a comeback!

Healthy Fats play a very important role in brain health as:

1. They are structural components of our brain cell membranes

2. They influence the functioning of the brain cells.

3. They are important for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E, K)

4. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important to our brain and overall health.

5. Fat is also an excellent source of energy & as a bonus, fat also keeps our skin soft.

 WHAT THE FAT?

FAT

Let me make one thing clear: Fat does not make you fat!
Yes, too much fat and intake of the wrong fats can lead to health problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.
BUT the goal needs to be the intake of the right sorts of fats + in moderation. One great example of this is the Mediterranean diet.

OLIVE OIL

The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil (also known as EVOO) are vast. High in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAS) the most important of which is called oleic acid.

Oleic acid is known to be extremely heart-healthy with positive effects on cholesterol, and inflammation. It is also capable of fighting free radical damage (or oxidative stress) which causes ageing.

Olive oil is especially healthy for your brain which is mostly made of fat – nearly 60 percent fat!

The Facts
One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains:

  • 119 calories
  • 14 grams fat (9.8 of which is monounsaturated) Yay!
  • 8 micrograms of vitamin K (10 % RDA)
  • 2 milligrams vitamin E (10 % RDA)

Olive oil is considered a brain food that improves focus and memory & may help fight age-related cognitive decline.

These healthy fatty acids (MUFA’s) present in olive oil, are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain’s ability to perform and think clearly. It also regulates your moods…

LOW FAT DIETS

Low-fat diets are often linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety.

One 2011 study found that monounsaturated (MUFA’s) and polyunsaturated (PUFA’s) fat intake had a reduced risk of depression

At the same time, there is a direct link between trans-fat intake and depression risk i.e. the higher the trans-fat consumption and lower the PUFA and MUFA intake increases your chances of battling mood disorders and treating depression.

A study has found that individuals who added a full litre of high-quality extra virgin olive oil to their diets every week, experienced more than a 40% reduction in risk for dementia, as well as a more than 60% reduction in risk for the development of breast cancer in women.

I recommend using extra virgin olive oil liberally, on bread, salads, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes etc it’s delicious!

Read on for Part 2: Beware of Fake Olive Oil…

 

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