Olive oil is a gourmet ingredient for cooking because it adds flavor, but it also has healthful benefits. Since ancient times, olive oil has been used as a healing ointment and now it is a proven antioxidant. It only takes one tablespoon per day to benefit from olive oil. You can substitute extra virgin olive oil for other fats such as butter to get a daily dose.
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A daily dose of olive oil protects you by preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease. Olive oil is good source of vitamin E, which acts an an antioxidant. According to the Olive Source, one tablespoon of olive oil provides 8 percent of the daily recommended value (RDA) for vitamin E.
According to Dr. Steven G. Pratt, a study in Spain discovered that when olive oil is consumed as part of the daily diet for at least four weeks it lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure. That is because olive oil has a positive effect on the cells that line the blood vessels. Pratt writes that another study found that people who take a daily dose of olive oil sometimes find that blood pressure medication is unnecessary as a result.
The monounsaturated fat in olive oil means that taking a daily dose instead of using other saturated fats reduces the risk of heart disease. According to Pratt, people from Mediterranean countries have lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels because olive oil and plant-based foods are a large part of their diet. Pratt claims that olive oil has polyphenols, which act as antioxidants and protect the LDL (or bad) cholesterol from oxidation.
- "101 Foods That Could Save Your Life"; David Grotto, R.D., L.D.N.; 2008
- "SuperFoods HealthStyle: Proven Strategies for Lifelong Health"; Steven G. Pratt, M.D.; 2006
- The Olive Oil Source: Chemical Characteristics