I am a firm believer in introducing more and more plant-based foods into diets. This won’t only be beneficial for the planet but also for our health. As a nutritional therapist, my role is not to “convince” clients to go vegan or vegetarian but to balance their diet and suggest changes to achieve health goals….
Olive Oil – why is it good for me?
Extra virgin olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet and is recommended as part of a healthy diet, but do you know why?
Despite being pure fat, it is mainly composed of monounsaturated fat (MUFAs) oleic acid which helps reducing blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol whilst maintaining levels of “good” HDL one.
Healthy levels of cholesterol positively impact insulin sensitivity and blood pressure, making it the ideal condiment for prevention and management of pre-diabetes, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Studies also suggest that oleic acid could be useful to reduce levels of pro-inflammatory protein CRP.
Other important components of olive oil are polyunsaturated fats such as omega3 and omega6, representing a total of 11%.
Omega fatty acids are also well known for their anti-inflammatory properties making olive oil a powerful aid to reduce generalised inflammation.
Some interesting studies suggest that olive oil can also have antibacterial properties against Helicobacter pyloris, a bacteria living in the stomach that can cause ulcers and gastritis. In 10-40% of cases taking 30gr of olive oil daily help to eliminate Helicobacter P. infection in 2 weeks.
The fat content of olive oil helps with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, like K/A/D.
One of its components, called oleocanthal, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and its content of vitamin E makes it also a powerful antioxidant.
When choosing an olive oil make sure is extra virgin (the highest quality) and is stored in a dark glass bottle to prevent oxidation. Another good advice is to store it away from heat sources to prevent oxidation – so don’t keep your bottle near the cooker, but in a cupboard.
The best way to make the most of olive oil properties is to have it raw : on salads, as a bread or crudite’ dip or use it to as final dressing on a soup instead of cream – a great choice that will support and nourish your body!