Welcome to the 21st century, where the low-fat diet is slowly but definitely on its way out to make room for a higher fat, lower carbohydrate dietplan. For decades we have been following the faulty advice to lower fat intake to a bare minimum when increasing the amount of sugar in everything.
Even a well-known brand of packaged macaroni and cheese contains added sugar, leaving us wondering why noodles and cheese may possibly have to be sweetened.
Why fat is important
Fat is a macronutrient with many benefits, one of which is the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It is also a building block of every cell membrane in the human body. It provides energy, slows the absorption of other nutrients (so you feel full longer after a meal) and is needed for healthy liver function. Plus, let's face it, fat makes food taste bette
Also, did you know that the human brain is more than 50 percent fat? The brain requires fats -- and especially essential fatty acids -- for perfect health. The body doesn't synthesize essential fatty acids so it needs to obtain them from a healthy diet.
Olive oil is Essential to the Mediterranean diet
Olive oil is a important part of the Mediterranean diet for health and longevity.
It is no secret that Southern Europeans who eat a more Mediterranean Diet, consisting of vegetables, fruits, a great deal of fish and a lot of olive oil, have a higher life expectancy with fewer diseases.
An average, Italians and Spaniards consume about 13 liters of olive oil per person per year. While the whole diet does play a big part in how healthy people are, it seems the use of extra virgin olive oil is the major contributing factor to wellbeing and health.
In a study published in 2013, researchers followed two groups of individuals for five years. 1 group ate a higher fat Mediterranean diet while the other group followed a low-fat diet. The higher fat group had a lower prevalence of heart disease, diabetes and much better success with weight loss.
Olive oil to Decrease inflammation
The high-grade extra virgin olive oil contains around 30 polyphenols that act as antioxidants and decrease inflammation within the body. The monounsaturated fatty acids in extra virgin olive oil help increase HDL ("good") cholesterol while decreasing LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Additionally, the additional antioxidants have been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease.
Olive oil for Improved skin
Our European allies have known for many centuries of the many benefits of olive oil -- they use it within the body and outside! On the skin, they use it as an exfoliant blended into a sugar scrub or as a moisturizer.
However, you don't have to smear olive oil all over you; drinking it's going to provide known anti-aging chemicals, like antioxidants and vitamin E.
Olive oil for weight loss
Olive oil can help with weight loss by maintaining you fuller for longer.
From the Mediterranean, many men and women start their day with a quarter cup of olive oil. The oleic acid in olive oil has a satiating effect. As mentioned above, it also slows the absorption of other nutrients, so you'll feel full longer and won't have to reach for that mid-morning sugary snack.
Even though the calories in olive oil may be high, the overall consumption of calories throughout the day will fall when you're just not that hungry.
Olive oil for a healthy gallbladder
Drinking olive oil can greatly increase the production of pancreatic juices and bile (which, incidentally, gives poop its brownish color). Using oil, the risk of gallstones decreases and bile is important for the breakdown of fats so they can be absorbed into the intestinal wall.
Olive oil for colon health
The polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil act as antioxidants to rid the body of free radicals that would otherwise damage tissues, or even lead to cancer. A study found that drinking olive oil inhibited colon cancer at various stages of the disease.
So why don't you use it to fend off cancer to start with? This is not to say that you should bypass those advocated colonoscopies after age 50, but go ahead and add olive oil to your daily regimen as a preventative measure.
Olive oil to manage blood sugar levels
A shot of olive oil can help balance blood sugar levels naturally.
Olive oil has the ability to keep blood sugar levels low. In 1 study, blood sugar levels stayed lower on people who ate their meal with olive oil, compared to a bunch of individuals eating a meal made out of corn oil. This makes sense since corn is a starch and has the ability to raise blood sugar levels much more than olives.
The best way to start your day with olive oil
With all this talk of the great benefits of olive oil, let's talk about how to take it. We know, of course, that it may be a little difficult to start your day with an whole chance of olive oil in an empty stomach first thing in the afternoon. In fact, if petroleum is consumed in large amounts, it may actually upset the stomach that is not utilized to it. Here are a few more ways to go about it.
First, start with a tablespoon and increase the amount over time. Another option is to combine olive oil in a blender with a cup of warm water and the juice of a lemon. It makes it far more palatable and the lemon juice will assist with the easier digestion of the oil.
Plus, lemon juice has been linked to improved liver function. A healthy liver produces more bile, which in turn is required for the proper breakdown of fats (and oils) from the small intestine.