Olive oil is one of the major components of a Mediterranean diet, which is considered to be one of the healthiest diets to follow. The latest research shows that olive oil is the part of that diet which greatly contributes to weight loss.
It is important to understand that your body needs fat for proper functioning. Fats play a major role in brain function, cardiovascular health, regulation of blood sugars, blood pressure and cholesterol, immune system activities, and hair and skin conditions. The FDA recommends getting from 25% to 35% daily caloric intake from fat. However, not all fats are created equal. The best fats for you are polyunsaturated fats found in fish, and monounsaturated fats found in vegetable oils.
The best olive oil is an extra-virgin one. Extra-virgin oil is produced from first pressing the olives without using any heat or chemical processes, so it's the purest olive oil possible. It should be stored tightly covered in a dark and cool place no longer then 6 months.
Here's how adding olive oil to your diet helps you lose weight:
As a rich source of monounsaturated fat, olive oil provides your body with Omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 is one of the essential fatty acids (EFA) which is not produced by the human body and should be consumed from food. Olive oil is one of the best sources of Omega-6 and it burns at least three times faster than fats from animal sources.
Olive oil is also rich in oleic acid, which is an Omega-9 fatty acid. Though this acid is not an EFA, it is one of the most important components found in olive oil to help in weight loss. The latest research proves that Omega-9 acid helps stop fat absorption by fat cells. Oleic acid is believed to help excrete fat from those cells in the bloodstream where it can be utilized for energy. During the digestive process, oleic acid is converted to a special hormone which tells your brain that you're full, thus helping to suppress feelings of hunger.
Women who start their day with just a teaspoon of olive oil increased their metabolism as much as 60% compared to those who did not. Research conducted in Spain showed that those who did not consume olive oil were 2.3 times more likely to be overweight than those who did.
Other Health Benefits
Monounsaturated fat found in olive oil helps control cholesterol by lowering levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), increases insulin sensitivity which controls blood sugar levels, and aids in losing mostly belly fat.
Polyphenols (antioxidants) in olive oil, especially in extra-virgin olive oil, help increase elasticity of the arterial walls. This helps with cardiovascular health and preventing heart attacks and strokes. Olive oil is also rich in vitamins E, K and carotenoids.
Word of Caution
Although olive oil is one of the best fats to utilize in your diet, it is still has 40 calories in a teaspoon. The key is to use olive oil in moderation. The FDA recommends using 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day, stating that it will provide health benefits if it substitutes fats from animal sources.