Chances are you could benefit from incorporating more olive oil into your diet. Not only is it delicious and versatile, but it can go a long way in supporting your health.
Turns out, a rather large batch of research suggests that the traditional dietary habits of those living in and around the Mediterranean (where olive oil is a main food staple) experience fewer incidences of chronic health concerns.1
Also, it just so happens that the data touting a Mediterannean dietary plan happens to be in striking contrast with data about the more concerning statistics in the United States.
In the U.S., people are experiencing increases in incidences of chronic illnesses, and the aging population is spending more and more on health care.2
So, does this gap in wellness have anything to do with olive oil consumption? Time will tell. Now is the time to ask how olive oil might be able to support your overall health, specifically, the health of your arteries. Read on to find the answer.
Why Consume Olive Oil?
Olive oil is a delicious daily staple of those who follow a Mediterranean diet. Those who consume olive oil regularly know that it is quite rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, polyphenols, antioxidants, and vitamins.3
One of the best things about adding healthy, nutritious fats regularly to your diet is that they really can help you keep hunger at bay. Not only that, but olive oil is a truly flavorful alternative to canola oil, butter, and other more common unhealthy oils.
But what gives olive oil that extra kick of health-promoting power? Oleuropein.
What Is Oleuropein And Can It Support Your Health?
Oleuropein is an important compound in the olive fruit. This compound is what gives olives their bitter taste before they ripen. But what’s amazing about this compound are the ways in which it may benefit your health.
Research shows that oleuropein may be able to:
- Help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals
- Help support the health of your arteries, for optimal blood flow
- Help soothe and maintain your body
- Support heart health
- Help defend your body against harmful microorganisms4
In addition, there are studies that show oleuropein could exhibit positive effects against things that could potentially lead to damaging the heart muscle.5 Oleuropein is thought to be able to support healthy blood flow to your heart. It may also be able to help decrease lipid levels and lipoproteins in your blood that can bind cholesterol and accumulate in your blood vessels.6
So, What Are The Best Ways To Use Olive Oil In Your Cooking?
There are so many great ways to put olive oil to work in your favorite dishes. It is a great oil for sautéing, cooking, and even lectin-free baking.
Olive oil is also a premium ingredient when it comes to dressing your favorite salads. Why cover up the earthy, delicious flavors of cruciferous veggies, leafy greens, or resistant starches when you can simply complement them with olive oil?
You can even drink an ounce of olive oil by itself… and many people do. Another great way to put olive oil to use is to drizzle it on your favorite soups. Olive oil adds a savory richness (and sometimes a light creaminess) to broths.
One of the most versatile recipes to utilize olive oil is pesto. Of course, pesto sauce (or dip) is quintessentially Mediterranean. Not only does it serve as a perfect vehicle for olive oil, but it also uses mouth-watering basil and toasted pine nuts.
Check out this quick Lectin-free Pesto Recipe
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt, to taste
All you have to do is —
- Pulse your basil, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, and a small amount of the olive oil in your blender.
- Adjust your blender to low, and pour in the rest of the olive oil. Salt to taste.
This pesto makes a wonderful dip for veggies, a great topper for salads, and a delicious sauce for almost anything and everything you can imagine. It’s fresh, salty, and scrumptious.
Improve Your Habits, Improve Your Health
In the end, if you can consume olive oil regularly, you may be able to do a lot for your overall health. Instead of cooking with butter or partially hydrogenated oils (which can contain unhealthy trans fats), opt for olive oil. The flavor is better, and so is the impact on your health.