What’s light green in color, has a pleasant aroma, and is a superfood in its own right? We’re talking about extra virgin olive oil or EVOO for short. If you don’t already have this pantry staple in your meal arsenal, it’s definitely time to pick up a bottle or two.
EVOO has many health benefits which you no doubt have heard of, but maybe it’s time for a refresher course. It’s a main component of the Mediterranean diet, a way of eating that has helped lower diabetes risk and cardiovascular disease according to several studies.
It’s time to rediscover why this wonder oil is so good for you. Here are five benefits of adding olive oil to your diet.
1. It’s High in Antioxidants
Just like colorful fruits and vegetables, red wine, and dark chocolate, olive oil has the power to kick serious butt when free radicals try to invade your body and cause trouble. It’s high in antioxidants, which are molecules that prevent the invaders from doing serious harm. You can thank the oil’s high vitamin E content.
This means sauteeing vitamin-packed vegetables in EVOO can deliver a double dose of superhero antioxidant power.
2. It’s an Anti-Inflammatory
Many diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s are linked to chronic inflammation in the body. Olive oil has serious anti-inflammatory properties that have been compared to ibuprofen. Olive oil is also rich in oleic acid, a fatty acid that works to reduce inflammation as well.
We’re not saying that EVOO can take the place of ibuprofen for aches and pains, but adding it to your diet may help reduce the risk of inflammation in general and thus developing a disease.
3. It’s Good For Your Heart
EVOO is high in monounsaturated fat, which is good for those who have to watch their heart health. In fact, it only contains about 14% of saturated fat, the bad stuff that can clog arteries. Because of its high oleic acid content, it also has a high smoke point, which makes it an ideal cooking oil.
4. It’s Good For Your Skin and Hair
Did you know that in a pinch, you can use a drop or two of olive oil to moisturize your skin? Buy olive oil so you have extra handy to massage onto parched cuticles and fingernails, or rubbing it on your feet and putting socks on at bedtime so your tootsies can soak up the nourishment overnight.
Several skincare products are made with olive oil. These companies usually process the oil so it won’t clog your pores, but keep your skin soft. And adding it to your diet can help keep skin supple and hydrated.
You can also massage a bit into your scalp and hair to combat dryness and tame flyaways, especially during the cold winter months.
5. It’s a Diet-Friendly Oil
Eating even a lot of EVOO won’t make you gain weight, according to at least one study. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can go to town binging on fatty foods and eating olive oil to try to offset the effects. But incorporating it as part of an already healthy diet will help keep your waistline under control.
What Are You Waiting For? You Need More EVOO In Your Life!
EVOO is definitely one staple you need in your kitchen. Use it for sauteeing, making salad dressings, for bread dipping, or drizzle a bit on your salad or vegetables to reap these fantastic health benefits!
For more tips on eating for good health check out our Food section of posts.