Olive oil nutrition is key; the high levels of monounsaturated fats found in olive oil can prevent heart disease and heart attacks, and keep blood pressure low. The antioxidants in olive oil prevent disease and cancer and can help slow the signs of aging. The polyphenols in this healthy oil help to control blood sugar levels, and olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties help protect against osteoporosis and can reduce the symptoms of allergies, asthma, arthritis and other conditions involving chronic inflammation.
Nutritional Value of Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the healthiest fatty oils; it’s high in the beneficial fats your body needs for energy and good health. 100 grams of olive oil contains the following nutrients:
- Polyunsaturated fats, 11 g
- Monounsaturated fats, 73 g
- Omega-3 fatty acids, 1.5 g
- Omega-6 fatty acids, between 3.5 and 21 g, depending on the type of olive oil
- Vitamin K, 62 ug
- Vitamin E, 14 mg
- Saturated fat, 14 g
100 grams of olive oil contains 900 calories, or about 120 calories per serving. It also contains polyphenols, which help regulate blood sugar levels and fat metabolism (as well as reduce inflammation in the body), and phytonutrients, which may offer some protection against infection and chronic degenerative disease.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil’s primary benefit is to heart health. The monounsaturated fats found in olive oil help lower levels of trigylcerides to prevent hypertension. They also lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol while raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol to protect against heart attack and heart disease.
The phytonutrients and polyphenols present in olive oil have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil can significantly reduce the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, allergies and other inflammatory conditions. Olive oil also reduces the chronic inflammation associated with bone loss disorders like osteoporosis. It can prevent osteoporosis and even help patients regain bone density.
The vitamin E found in olive oil helps keep skin, hair and nails healthy. Olive oil’s high antioxidant content helps support immune function and can prevent certain types of cancer. It also helps slow the signs of aging.
Using Olive Oil as Part of a Healthy Diet
It’s easy to get more olive oil into your diet. You can use it as a cooking oil, and even put it into a spray bottle if you’d like to use olive oil as a substitute for cooking spray. Brush meat, fish and poultry with olive oil before grilling. Use olive oil as a substitute for butter and margarine in baking recipes; substitute olive oil on a 3 to 4 ratio, so that if the recipe calls for one cup of butter or margarine, you’ll use 3/4 of a cup of olive oil to substitute.
One popular way to add olive oil to a healthy diet is by using it to make salad dressing. You can use olive oil to make a vinaigrette or as an ingredient in homemade mayonnaise. Olive oil also makes a tasty dipping sauce for breads, especially if you add your favorite spices.