Delicious…and Good For You? Yes!
Growing up, at least in my experience, the message was clear – fats make you fat.
Whether it was a pile of french fries or slapping on another blob of peanut butter on my PB&J, I was preconditioned to assume that fats are the enemy and that I should avoid them at all costs (it didn’t really work out for me most life lol).
Yet, this is not the case.
Nowadays, at one point or another, I’m sure someone has come along to convince you that olive oil was healthy. But why? I mean, what alternatives could you be using that are so bad?
Olive oil has tons of benefits, but chances are you don’t know what they are.
I really didn’t know the benefits myself until I started this company and threw myself (well, not literally) into the olive oil sphere and learned everything I could.
So then, why is olive oil good for you?
Well, if somebody asks you why you choose olive oil over butter, my goal here is for you to be able to give them a concrete answer.
Read below to find out 10 useful benefits of olive oil you should be aware of.
1. Contributes to a Balanced Diet
Again, fats are not the enemy (but some clarification on this in a little bit).
Fats are an essential part of our diets. Without a healthy source of fat, our bodies wouldn’t be able to break down essential nutrients.
Certain vitamins like Vitamin A, D, and E are fat-soluble. However, our bodies do not produce their own fatty acids. This means without help from fat like olive oil, we would not be able to absorb them.
Olive oil can provide energy for our bodies and assists in cell development. As a healthy fat, olive oil can also promote nutrient absorption and help our bodies perform daily functions.
Essentially, wiithout healthy sources of fat like olive oil, our bodies would not function to their fullest potential.
2. It Does Not Contain Trans Fats or Saturated Fats
There are several types of fats you’ve most likely heard of, even if you may not know what they mean. Olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, is only one of them.
But not all fats are created equal.
Saturated fats are usually found in your generally “unhealthy” food options. These can be man-made or naturally occurring. They’re dubbed “saturated” fats because their molecular chain is saturated with hydrogen.
Examples of prime sources of saturated fats include:
Trans fats are a type of saturated fat. Chemically speaking, trans fats differ from other fats because they are produced through partial hydrogenation.
This process turns liquid fats into solid fats at room temperature. This is usually done by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil.
Trans fats came into the general conscience in 2006, when the FDA required nutrition labels to list them.
Food manufacturers scrambled to change ingredients because foods high in trans fat were seen as unmarketable with the new regulations (hey, an actual good thing the government has done for us!)
By consuming either of these types of fats, you could risk lowering your high-density lipoprotein levels (HDL, or good cholesterol) and raising your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (LDL, or bad cholesterol).
Meanwhile, plaque can build up in your arteries, and eventually, you reduce your cardiovascular function, causing heart disease and even strokes.
A diet low in saturated fats is the way to go, which is why olive oil is such a great alternative.
3. It’s a Monounsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated fats stand out in the fat family because of their health benefits.
Monounsaturated fats contain double bonds in their chemical structure. Saturated fats do not, which is why they’re filled with hydrogen and don’t break down as well.
“Mono” meaning “one, implies that monounsaturated fats have a single double bond. This is good because the molecule isn’t saturated with hydrogen.
The double bonds allow their molecules to bend. This creates more loosely packed molecules. The loosely packed molecules allow olive oil to remain a liquid at room temperature.
Monounsaturated fats are found in a variety of naturally occurring foods. Nuts and seeds, salmon, avocados, and you guessed it, olives are all great sources of this healthy fat.
High in monounsaturated fat, olive oil can raise your HDL cholesterol and lower your LDL cholesterol. Not only does it work in favor of your body, but your body needs it to survive and function.
4. It Contains Antioxidants
What are the olive oil nutrition facts? Spoiler alert, FULL of antioxidants.
Olive oil contains nutrients and antioxidants essential for our body’s functions. It contains Vitamins K, E, and oleic acid.
An imbalance of antioxidants can cause a myriad of diseases and illnesses. These nutrients are found in high levels in olive oil.
Vitamin K is known for helping your blood clot in cases of injury. It’s also known for regulating blood calcium levels and promoting bone metabolism.
Low levels of vitamin K have even been linked to decreased calcium absorption. Eventually, this can cause lower bone density and osteoporosis.
Vitamin E helps promote healthy skin, your immune system, and regular cell function. It can act as an anti-inflammatory and reduce the effects of harmful UV rays.
Oleic acid is a naturally occurring fatty acid. It has been studied for its benefits in reducing cancer-causing cells and chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
5. It’s Heart Healthy
With all the benefits of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, olive oil can be heart healthy!
Like all fats, consumption in moderation is always recommended. However, the nutrients in olive oil make it a defense against deadly diseases such as cardiovascular and heart disease.
Cardiovascular and heart diseases are caused by many factors including lack of exercise, a poor diet, and smoking. Your diet is an important aspect of this because the food you eat contains fats that can either help prevent or speed up the progression of these diseases. When you consume foods high in saturated fats, this can cause plaque buildup.
Plaque buildup lowers the flow of blood to your body and can cause major problems down the line. Healthy fats like olive oil are good for your body and allow for proper nutrient absorption. Olive oil doesn’t build up in your arteries the same way unhealthy saturated fats usually do.
By converting to olive oil, you are providing your body with the healthy fats it needs to function. You’re also lowering your chances of getting heart and cardiovascular diseases.
6. You Could Reduce Your Chances of Experiencing a Stroke
Strokes are caused by several different factors including improper cardiovascular function.
One of these causes can be a lack of blood flow to the brain. Sometimes fatty deposits in arteries can become unlodged and find their way into your brain. These deposits can block blood vessels, causing a stroke.
Strokes can also be caused by reduced blood flow in our blood vessels. This can cause a stroke when blood is unable to make its way through a vessel and clots. This clot, like fatty deposits, can also block vessels in the brain.
Monounsaturated fats assist in maintaining proper cardiovascular health. By providing our bodies with healthy fats like olive oil, we increase our chances of preventing a stroke.
7. It’s Anti-Inflammatory
Olive oil contains nutrients that can reduce inflammation in your body. Specifically, a nutrient known as oleocanthal.
Oleocanthal is a phenylethanoid, a naturally occurring compound with properties conducive to health. It has even been shown to have a similar effect to a small dose of ibuprofen.
Prostaglandins are a key factor in producing the redness and swelling that develops with inflammation. Oleocanthal staves off inflammation by reducing the concentration of prostaglandins at an inflammation site.
Olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties vary based on the purity and type of olive oil, but it is the only cooking oil that contains the phenylethanoid oleocanthal.
8. Your Body Can Absorb It
The great thing about naturally occurring fats like olive oil is that your body can absorb them.
Remember those double and single molecular bonds we mentioned earlier? The double bonds in monounsaturated fats like olive oil make it easier for your body to break down and digest.
This also makes them a good source of energy. Healthy fats throughout the day can regulate your energy levels.
9. It Burns at a Higher Temperature Than Most Fats
You might be thinking, because it burns at a higher temperature than most fats? Are you running out of ways to get to 10.
Hear me out, there’s a good reason this is on the list.
We’re all guilty of burning our food at one point or another. However, the effects of burning food can be more dangerous than we realize.
Burning food creates a cancer-causing agent called acrylamide.
Acrylamide is produced when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures. A chemical reaction occurs between sugars and amino acids in your food that causes the pungent smell and black color when it is burned.
This harmful compound is produced and often consumed, regardless of its negative health consequences.
However, when cooking with olive oil, the chances of producing acrylamide are much lower. With a relatively high burning temperature, it is more difficult to burn food while cooking with it! At over 400 degrees, the smoking point of olive oil is pretty high.
Obviously, burning anything can cause us to ingest harmful chemicals but this is something you don’t have to worry about as much with olive oil.
By using olive oil when you cook, you’re significantly reducing your chance of consuming cancerous chemicals.
10. It Can Combat Cognitive Decline
Olive oil and all its nutrients can also help slow brain degeneration.
Preliminary research has shown olive oil to reduce one’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. As someone who has lost a close family member to Alzheimer’s, this one hits home the most.
The chemical properties have been studied to help to block and remove plaque in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s. By consuming olive oil, you potentially reduce your risk of obtaining a neurodegenerative disease.
Other Reasons Why Olive Oil Is Awesome!
I hope that was informative!
I got on a roll, so while the following may not constitute as reasons “why is olive oil good for you”, we have more reasons on why olive oil is so fantastic!
It Tastes Great
Extra virgin olive oil is known for its rich taste. This comes from the way the olive oil is pressed and extracted from the olives.
The more “virgin” the olive oil is, the less refined and processed it is. Makes sense, right?
Luckily, unlike some health foods, olive oil tastes great! Not only are you receiving heart-healthy benefits, but you’re treating your taste buds!
Olive oil nutrition is nothing compared to the savory flavor it can add to any dish, and, as discussed above, that is saying something!
There Are Different Flavors
Flavor is in our name, so you’ve come to the right place. Flower City Flavor Company has some amazing flavored olive oils to choose from.
Our Extra Virgin Tuscan Herb Olive Oil is my favorite. A mix of essential oils extracted from basil, rosemary, oregano and garlic mixed into
This one is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of flavored olive oils.
To stay on the theme of healthy, as I said, we use real essential oils. Most other flavored olive oils (and vinegars) use “natural” flavors.
I’ve got news for you, “natural” flavors aren’t as great as they sound. I’ll leave it up to you to find some further info on them and see why ours are the best!
So, with the same benefits as regular olive oil, flavored options can add an interesting twist to any dish.
Conclusion: Why Is Olive Oil Good for You?
TL;DR – Olive oil is a healthy fat, composed of mostly monounsaturated fats. This fat is easily absorbed by our bodies and can promote healthier lifestyles. It’s great for cooking and even better tasting.
Antioxidant filled, this healthy fat should be in everyone’s kitchen. Whether you choose a plain extra virgin olive oil or a flavored one, when it comes to vegetable oil vs olive oil, the decision is a no-brainer.
So next time someone asks you “Why is olive oil good for you?”, tell them its part of a balanced diet!
You’ll be doing yourself (and your heart) a favor by choosing olive oil.