Q and A on Olive Oil
- What are the health benefits of olive oil?
- Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like poly phenols, carotenoids and vitamin E. Scientists have identified a compound in olive oil called oleuropein which prevents the LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. It is the oxidized cholesterol that sticks to the walls of the arteries and forms plaque, thus increasing the risk to cardio vascular diseases.
- Because olive oil is so flavorful, less is required to add flavor to food. This reduces the calories and the total fat content of food prepared or served with olive oil compared to food prepared with other less flavorful oils.
- Olive oil is good source of the antioxidant, vitamin E. It contains 1.6 mg. of vitamin E per tablespoon, which is 8% of the recommended daily allowance.
- Olive oil has a high smoke point, 410 degrees F, and doesn’t degrade as quickly as many other oils do with repeated high heating. The digestibility of olive oil is also not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used several times for frying.
Q 2. What diseases or ailments does olive oil help in preventing?
- Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Replacing other fats in your diet with olive oil can significantly lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardio-vascular diseases.
Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil’s protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis.
· Studies done on olive oil have identified oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil, as having the ability to reduce the affect of an oncogene (a gene that will turn a host cell into a cancer cell), hence olive oil may act as a cancer inhibitor.
Q.3. Does consuming excess olive oil lead to weight gain?
In spite of the health benefits of olive oil, it should not be overused, because like all other edible oils, it is a high source of calories. One tablespoon of olive oil contains about 120 calories, but because it is so flavorful, a little can go a long way when used as a cooking oil, a salad dressing, or condiment.
Q.4. How much olive oil should one have in a day to reap maximum benefit?
4. Healthier cooking oils like olive oil contain less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fat and hence are preferred than refined vegetable oils and saturated fats. Ideally use about 1-2 tbsp of extra –virgin olive oil in dressings. It is however recommended that olive oil be substituted for other fats in the diet and not added