The Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil is a good source of healthy fats and vitamin E

Olive oil is a good source of healthy fats and vitamin E

As trendy oils like walnut, grape seed, chia seed and flax seed become available in the mainstream marketplace, they have bumped olive oil out of the limelight. But the Mediterranean staple remains very worthy of stocking in your pantry.

Top-notch olive oil is the extra virgin, first cold-pressed variety, although all olive oil is a source of healthy fats and vitamin E. Research has shown that including olive oil regularly in the diet can help lower total, bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood without impacting the good, HDL cholesterol. The vitamin E it supplies helps reduce oxidative stress in cells and lowers the risk for strokes.

More recently, olive oil is being tested for its role in lowering blood pressure. While research is ongoing to determine a specific dose, given that fat is a required nutrient in the diet for overall health, using two tablespoons of olive oil a day, whether in salad dressings or cooking, continues to be a good thing.

All oils eventually degrade and become unhealthy when heated. Olive oil has a fairly high smoke point of 190°C, which means that when kept at this temperature or lower, it is not a concern. For comparison, canola oil’s smoke point is 204°C and butter is 121-148°C. Extend the shelf life by storing olive oil in a cool, dark place, but not the fridge.