Olive oil is a monosaturated, heart healthy fat. It is loaded with antioxidants that help protect the heart and blood cells from damage. Olive oil is a major ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which is known for its cardiovascular benefits. Drinking olive oil every day is not only good for the heart, but may also aid in weight loss and pain relief. However, because it's high in calories, you should drink oil in moderation and, as with any other supplement, you should consult your doctor before taking it.
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An olive oil-enriched diet may facilitate weight loss. A study by Mary M. Flynn and Steven E. Reinert published in the June 2010 issue of “Journal of Women’s Health” studied two groups of women on diets. One group was on a low-fat diet and the other group was on an olive oil-enriched diet. In the olive oil group, 80 percent of participants had a weight loss of at least 5 percent. In the low-fat diet group, only 31 percent of participants had a weight loss of 5 percent. The researchers concluded that a supplement of olive oil to a regularly balanced diet brought about a greater weight loss than the low-fat diet.
Since food preparations vary and olive oil is not always needed, drinking olive oil is one way to ensure that you get your daily olive oil enrichment. Drinking at least 1 tablespoon of olive oil lets you measure exactly how much you consume each day.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Drinking 2 tablespoons of olive oil every day may reduce your risk of heart disease, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Olive oil contains monosaturated fat, which is a heart healthy type of fat. Use olive oil in place of saturated and trans fats, which can increase your risk of heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. A 2008 study conducted by M.I. Covas and published in the October issue of “Inflammopharmacology” notes that olive oil is effective against oxidative stress, which is linked to several diseases including cardiovascular disease.
Oleocanthal, a compound in extra virgin olive oil, suppresses pain pathways much like the pain reliever Ibuprofen, according to a report in the September 2005 issue of the "British Journal of Medicine." Fifty grams of olive oil is equivalent to 10 percent of the recommended daily dose of Ibuprofen, notes the journal.
Drinking olive oil might pose a health risk to some individuals. It's high in vitamin E, and drinking large amounts of olive oil might cause an accidental vitamin E overdose, which in turn impairs your ability to form blood clots. Olive oil also contains 120 calories per tablespoon, so the calories add up quickly when you're drinking it.
If you're finding it difficult to drink olive oil, try adding a tablespoon to a homemade fruit smoothie. Alternatively, drizzling soups and salads with olive oil boosts your intake without the need for drinking it directly.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Journal of Women's Health: Comparing an Olive Oil-Enriched Diet to a Standard Lower-Fat Diet for Weight Loss in Breast Cancer Survivors; Mary M. Flynn, Steven E. Reinert. Journal of Women's Health. June 2010, 19(6): 1155-1161.
- Food and Drug Administration: FDA News Release-FDA Allows Qualified Health Claim to Decrease Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fats and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad, In with the Good
- National Institutes of Health: Bioactive Effects of Olive Oil Phenolic Compounds in Humans: Reduction of Heart Disease Factors and Oxidative Damage
- British Medical Journal: Minerva; September 24, 2005; 331(7518): 704
- Linus Pauling Institute: All About E
- Dallas News: Olive-Oil Diet Aids Weight Loss