Olive oil has long been touted as one of the healthiest oils in the world. It has a long history of use and it even boasts 19 mentions in the Bible. But, what makes olive oil so special and why should you make more of an effort to include it in your diet?
Read on to learn more about the numerous benefits of this ancient oil, find out why it’s a beauty secret worth trying, and how you can incorporate it into your life.
Benefits of Olive Oil
It’s Nutrient Dense
Extra virgin olive oil is very high in nutrients like vitamin E, iron, copper and calcium. It’s also loaded with phytonutrients which are anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. It can help to repair the liver and it’s good for the heart. A nutrient-dense food like this should not be overlooked as it could do wonders to promote glowing skin and a healthy physique.
It Promotes Health and Longevity
After spending two years travelling around Blue Zones, researcher Dan Buettner came up with 100 recipes that help to promote health and longevity. Blue Zones are places around the world where people seem to defy the limits of age.
One of the main ingredients in the book is olive oil and it’s not surprising why. For example, on the island of Ikaria in Greece which has one of the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world, the Mediterranean diet is consumed in its purest form. This means lots of locally grown and wild greens with liberal quantities of olive oil.
It Protects Against Cancer
The polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil have anti-cancer properties that help to fight against cancer cells and can actually help to protect against breast cancer specifically. In fact, research shows that consuming just four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day can reduce breast cancer risk by up to 68%.
How To Incorporate More Olive Oil Into Your Diet and Lifestyle
Eat Greens For Breakfast
Eating polyphenol-rich greens is a great way to boost your energy in the morning and can help to boost your olive oil intake. This should be fairly easy for anyone that enjoys a savoury breakfast. All you have to do is sauté bitter greens like kale and/or Swiss chard with olive oil. Don’t be shy to drizzle with a little more olive oil before serving to make your meal even more satisfying.
Eat It As a Sauce
If plain olive oil isn’t your thing, why not turn it into a satisfying dipping sauce or dressing for your greens? All it takes is some creativity. You could make a classic and simple salad dressing by combining some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic and Dijon mustard.
For a creamy dipping sauce, blend together olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, avocado and lemon zest. It could also be as simple as adding a tablespoon or so of olive oil per meal.
Use It To Preserve Roasted Veggies
You can also preserve vegetables in olive oil. First, roast vegetables like red peppers, cherry tomatoes, and eggplants. Be sure to squeeze in some lemon juice at the bottom of the jar you’re using, before you add the vegetables and olive oil and throw in some herbs as well.
This should preserve your veggies for up to four weeks and you can use them on anything, from home-made pizza to pasta dishes and sandwiches
Boost Your Beauty Routine
This kitchen essential is also an ancient miracle ingredient that’s been used in beauty regiments around the world for thousands of years. Thanks to its vitamin E and oleic acid properties, olive oil has the ability to help soften skin and improve its elasticity.
Olive oil is also great for removing make-up and the best part is that it doesn’t clog pores, so you don’t have to worry about break-outs from using it. You can also massage olive oil onto your skin and leave it on overnight for glowing skin.
Pro Tip! Olive oil doesn’t tolerate heat very well and it’s not wise to fry with it. Using high heat will oxidize the fats and compromise its beneficial effects. It’s best to consume olive oil as is or use it to sauté at low temperatures.
The Difference Between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Regular Olive Oil
You may have seen or heard the distinction being made between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. That’s because extra virgin olive oil is unique from other types of olive oil in that it’s produced from a gentle extraction process that helps to preserve its health-boosting antioxidants.
Extra virgin olive oil has more monounsaturated fat than any oil because it’s pressed similarly to fruit juice. This is good news because monounsaturated fat naturally lowers bad cholesterol while increasing your good cholesterol.
Not only does olive oil taste great, but it’s good for your health too. It has been shown to lower cholesterol and inflammation, it helps to fight a number of aging factors, and it reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. What’s not to like!