5 Reasons to use cold pressed olive oil, a cooking oil full of healthy fats By Zoey Sky for Prevention
If you’re a health-conscious person, it’s normal to think about the different ingredients you can cook your meals with. But are you using a healthy cooking oil?
If you want to switch to a healthier cooking oil, try cold pressed olive oil. Olive oil is a versatile superfood that’s packed with essential nutrients.
Olive oil originated from the Mediterranean region and has been used for centuries as both food and medicine.
Different types of olive oil differ in quality depending on how the oil is extracted. The oil processing method used also influences the quality of the final product.
Compared to other kinds of cooking oil, cold pressed olive oil stands out as one of the best types of olive oil that you can cook with or add directly to your meals.
Olives are a nutrient-rich stone fruit. Olive oil contains oleic acid, a beneficial monounsaturated fat.
Olive oil is a natural source of vitamins E and K. Cold pressing olive oil helps the extracted oil retain its healthy fats and antioxidants.
Here are five amazing reasons to switch to cold pressed olive oil.
Olive oil is full of healthy fats
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that adults limit their calories from fat to 30 percent, with a focus on unsaturated fat.
If you use olive oil, you can rest easy because it contains oleic acid, a healthy unsaturated fat. According to a 2013 review published in Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, oleic acid has a beneficial modulatory effect on autoimmune diseases, cancer and inflammatory diseases and cancer.
Oleic acid also helps promote wound healing.
According to another study published in the journal Medical Science Monitor, supplementing with olive oil, which contains healthy fat, may help lower LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol.
An article from Harvard Health suggests that olive oil contains omega-six and omega-three fatty acids, which have roles in blood clotting, blood pressure regulation and immune system response.
Olive oil is an antioxidant-rich cooking oil
Because cold pressed olive oil isn’t treated with heat, it’s more likely to retain a higher portion of its antioxidant content.
Antioxidants are important because they can help prevent oxidative stress by protecting you against harmful free radicals. Oxidative stress is one of the major causes of inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease. (Related: Olive oil vs. avocado oil: Both are green and healthy, but which one’s better for you?)
A 2018 peer-reviewed study published in IntechOpen’s Functional Foods has found that oleocanthal, oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol are the phenolic compounds mainly responsible for the antioxidant activity in olive oil.
Olive oil also contains vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. You can find vitamin E in other superfoods like nuts, seeds, some vegetables and some fortified products.
Vitamin E plays many roles in your body. It can also help protect your cells from oxidative damage, and it has a role in proper immune function and cellular signaling.
Olive oil helps protect against inflammation
The IntechOpen study also suggests that olive oil contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Oleocanthal, a compound in olive oil, is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. When combined with the antioxidant properties and healthy fats in olive oil, dietary supplementation may naturally help reduce inflammation.
Olive oil helps boost brain health
Experts have also found that supplementing with cold pressed olive oil can support brain health.
The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet is a specific diet that focuses on the use of olive oil and is backed by scientific research. The MIND diet is a combination of the traditional Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, as recommended by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
According to data, volunteers following the MIND diet have shown reduced rates of declines in mental sharpness and memory with age in population studies. The finding has also shown reduced rates of declines following a stroke.
In a 2015 study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, scientists worked with 923 participants. According to data from the 4.5-year study, there was a 53 percent percent rate reduction of Alzheimer’s disease in volunteers who adhered to the diet.
The MIND diet also included other brain health-boosting superfoods like berries, fish, nuts and whole grains. If you want to try the MIND diet, you should also reduce your sodium intake.
Olive oil helps prevent heart disease
Want to boost your heart health naturally? Switch to olive oil now.
According to the American Heart Association, a person dies of cardiovascular disease every 36.1 seconds in the United States. Based on 2019 data, there is an average of 2,396 deaths daily resulting from cardiovascular disease.
Earlier research has proven that olive oil contains important compounds that can help fight inflammation and reduce LDL cholesterol.
Data from a 2015 study on 84,000 women revealed that there was a 15 percent risk reduction of heart disease after replacing five percent of saturated fats with foods high in monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Follow the Mediterranean diet, which relies on olive oil as a healthy fat source, to boost your heart health and reduce heart health risk factors.
How to incorporate cold pressed olive oil into a balanced diet
You can replace cooking oil for baking, roasting, or sauteing with cold pressed olive oil. The most straightforward way to include cold pressed olive oil in your diet is by substituting it for saturated fats.
Here are some food swap suggestions for cold pressed olive oil:
- Replace bacon grease, butter or lard with cold pressed olive oil when cooking.
- Dip bread in olive oil instead of using butter.
- Make an olive oil dressing or purchase olive oil dressings instead of creamy salad dressings.
- Buy or make olive oil-based baba ganoush or hummus over cheesy or creamy dips.
While cold-pressed olive oil is a healthy cooking oil, remember that it is also rich in calories. Monitor your caloric intake closely so you don’t exceed the 30 percent limit recommended by the USDA.