Olive oil is a fantastic source of ‘good' fat that's loaded with antioxidants. It's no wonder olive oil is at - or near - the top of most health experts' list of must-haves!
“Research has shown that olive oil helps lower ‘bad' cholesterol and total cholesterol, improve insulin levels and blood clotting and assist with blood sugar control,” explains Colette Heimowitz, Atkins' vice president of nutrition and education and resident nutritionist.
However, there are many misconceptions about olive oil. Read on for a few ways to maximise the health benefits of this ancient staple of good health.
Four ways to maximise the health benefits of olive oil
#1: Opt for extra-virgin
Extra-virgin olive oil is the top of the line and contains more healthy components. This type of olive oil is extracted using natural methods and isn’t heavily refined. The olives are cold
pressed using no chemicals and harmful processing, so you get the most benefits from the oil. Plus, because extra-virgin is the first extract of the olives, it has the highest concentration of vitamin E, an antioxidant, and phytonutrients, especially polyphenols, that have anti-inflammatory properties.
#2: Pair it with vitamin A-rich foods
Vitamin A is found in dark leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, cantaloupe, tropical fruits and other produce. Because vitamin A is fat
-soluble, eating olive oil with foods rich in this vitamin will help your body absorb it better. This combination will also satiate your palate so that you feel full for longer, as well as provide you with a boost of energy.
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#3: Drizzle it on everything
Olive oil is delicious drizzled on just about any food – think salads, cheese and vegetables. You can even pour some on fish right before serving. Not only does this give your food the best flavour, it’s also full of health benefits!
#4: Cook with it
Although olive oil loses some of its nutritional benefits when you heat it, it’s still much more heart-healthy than other oils. But keep in mind that unlike coconut and grape seed oils, which are best for high hat, olive oil is best for lower heat.
Did you know? You can also use olive oil to add a moist, unique flavour to baked goods like breads and muffins.
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