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Why Olive Oil is the Superstar of Dietary Fats

The Mediterranean diet has long been touted for its prevention of degenerative diseases and an extended longevity. While there are some differences in the traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern, from Italy to Greece and Croatia, they all share the same use of olive oil as the main culinary fat. Today, we dive into what makes olive oil so amazing!

Extra virgin olive oil


The Health Benefits of Olive Oil

A meta-analysis of 841,211 participants demonstrated that the higher consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil was associated with lower cardiovascular death, stroke, and all-cause mortality.
Studies have shown reduction in both systolic and diastolic numbers. Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) measures the dilation of an artery. In another meta-analysis, FMD were significantly increased in individuals subjected to olive oil than compared to its controls.  
Olive oil was shown to reduce inflammation by lowering blood levels of various inflammatory markers including TNF-α, C-reactive protein (CRP), and Interleukin-6 when compared to controls.
Numerous studies have confirmed the anticancer activity of oleuropein, a phenolic compound in olives,  in breast, skin, bladder, colon prostate, lung, kidney and brain cancers.  Research shows is has anti-tumor effects and induces cancer cell death, known as apoptosis. 
Due to its impressive and wide array of phytonutrients, including phenols, terpenes, flavones, and a dozen other fancy sounding chemicals that I will not bore you with, olives provide natural antioxidant protection. These nutrients decrease the level of reactive oxygen species in the cells protecting biomolecules against oxidative damage, contributing to anti-aging effects.

Can You Cook With Olive Oil?


It is true that when fats and oils are exposed to high heat temperatures, they can become damaged as well as reduce phenolic and antioxidant compounds. Various harmful compounds are formed, including lipid peroxides and aldehydes, which can contribute to DNA damage and cancer.

This is especially true of highly refined and processed polyunsaturated fats, including vegetable oils like soybean, corn, margarines, safflower and sunflower oils. These should be 100% avoided.

To minimize exposure to potentially harmful and carcinogenic compounds, you should only cook with fats that are stable at high heat, measured by its polyphenols, smoke point and oxidative stability.

Olive oil has a great fatty acid profile consisting of nearly 87%  heat-resistant oils, 73% from monounsaturated, and 14% saturated. The remaining 11% is from heat-sensitive polyunsaturated fats.

One study revealed that various types of olive oil, including extra virgin olive oil, were resistant to oxidation in deep frying conditions and another showed that olive oil didn’t start to degrade until temperature reached 500 degrees Fahrenheit! 

So the good news is yes you can cook with olive oil! It is best used for cold purposes, on salads and drizzling on cooked foods so you can maximize nutrients. As a rule of thumb, best to heat olive oil at low to moderate temperatures and always for shortest time necessary. Best under 400 degrees Fahrenheit to play it safe!

How To LifeMod With Olive Oil   

  • Olive oil should be used in 2 out of 3 meals per day, minimum!
  • Add a little extra oil to everything. Drizzle on vegetables and finished meats.
  • Purchase cold pressed, unfiltered
  • Always purchase oil in a tin, or dark tinted glass bottles to protect oxidation from light
  • Purchase Olive Oils from America – USDA certified or other trusted source.  
    • There have been reports of illegally tainted olive oils blended with vegetables oils, like sunflower oil with added chlorophyll drops for coloring from Europe, mafia infiltrated!

How Do Know You Have High Quality Olive Oil?

It’s darker green in color

It’s fragrant

It’s a little cloudy in appearance, unfiltered
It has a peppery taste when it hits the back of your throat (Best indicator!)

Lemon Dijon Vinegarette Recipe 

  • 1/4 cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (or red wine vinegar, coconut vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 TBS Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano (or Italian seasoning, or other seasoning of choice)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, or 1 TSP garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground fresh black pepper
  • 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  1. Mix together in glass jar. Use it as a salad dressing on raw or steamed veggies or as a marinade vegetables, chicken or other meats.
  2. Keeps in glass jar in refrigerator for 7-10 days.
Be Well,
Dr. Loredana

How do you use olive oil in your kitchen? Comment below!

Owner, Nutritional Therapist and Wellness Coach

Dr. Loredana earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) at Temple University in 2012 and is a practicing pharmacist, licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In addition, she is a certified Primal Health Coach (PHC), a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP), a Reiki Level II practitioner, a Toxicity and Detox Specialist, and also trained in bioenergetic therapies as well as muscle response testing techniques including Morphogenic Field Technique and Nutrition Response Testing®, each of which analyze neurological reflexes.

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