With the all the oils on the market it can be confusing which ones to use. Cue your new favourite go to oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), and here is why...
In the past, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and other good fats have been demonised under the assumption that eating fat will make you fat. Hopefully you are fully aware that this is just not the case and if not, well I am about to convince you otherwise. Shown in a recent study EVOO can inhibit an enzyme in fatty tissue called fatty acid synthase (1). This enzyme creates fat out of consumed carbohydrates, so by including EVOO in your diet you could actually be reducing weight gain. Fantastic right, but wait there is more!
By including EVOO in your diet you could actually be reducing weight gain!
EVOO is full of some amazing properties making it one of the healthiest oils around. For starters, in each dash of EVOO you'll find both omega-6 and omega-3’s, critical fatty acids the body requires for good health. The most predominant part however is made up of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. This monounsaturated fat is extremely healthy, it has been linked to reducing levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) (2). Being comprised mainly of monounsaturated fat is benefical as it is quite resistant to high temperatures, meaning EVOO is great for cooking as well as splashing over salads as a dressing or sauce.
EVOO is a known champion for reducing levels of chronic inflammation. In fact EVOO has been shown to be as effective in reducing inflammation as a small dose of ibuprofen (3). This is all due to a phenol readily found in EVOO called oleocanthal. This is the component of the oil that if tasted on its own will give EVOO its peppery taste. This key component has been in readily researched as it is thought to be a major contributor to health associated with the Mediterranean diet. Chronic inflammation has been linked to many major diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. With the list of illnesses linked to inflammation growing this should be an area of health everyone should be concerned with.
Vitamin E, an antioxidant, is another important element of EVOO. Antioxidants are crucial as they clean the body of oxidised or damaged cells and particles. This is important as damaged cells have the opportunity to become cancerous and create other health implications. Vitamin E is a very important antioxidant as it fights oxidisation in fatty tissues such as the brain. Consuming vitamin E has also been anecdotally liked to reducing the appearance of wrinkles and making hair look shinier and healthier. Luckily, 1 tablespoon of EVOO contains approximately 1.9 milligrams of vitamin E, ~13% of the maximum daily intake.
So if EVOO is not bad for the waist line, effectively cleans up inflammation in the body, can provide your body with omegas 6 and 3 as well as vitamin E, it protects the brain and tastes great then why aren’t you using it. For even more bang for your buck, taste these oils and steer towards ones with a stronger peppery taste. This will mean that the oil has more oleocanthal and will be ever greater for you in the long run. Now get out there and eat some EVOO!
J. A. Menendez et al., "Analysing Effects of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Polyphenols on Breast-Cancer Associated Fatty Acid Synthase Protein Expression Using Reverse-Phase Protein Microarrays," International Journal of Molecular Medicine 22, no. 4 (2008): 433-39
Merck & Co., "You Can Control Your Cholesterol: A Guide to Low-Cholesterol Living" https://www.merckengage.com/ (2009): retrieved 15.09.2018
Michael Hopkin, "Extra Virgin Olive oil Mimics Painkiller," Nature, August 31, 2005, https://www.nature.com/drugdisc/news/articles/050829-11.html