Let's Not Forget About Olive Oil

  • Written By:Lauren Slayton
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I love to travel. I’m always seeking out exotic locations and new places to explore. At the same time, I'm also a homebody and enjoy the familiarity when I return home. It’s the same when it comes to food. Açaí and turmeric are almost commonplace ingredients, and there is an ongoing fascination with sampling the latest superfoods. I am as guilty as anyone in perpetuating this quest for nutrition newness, but we can’t forget about the more familiar foods that offer just as much when it comes to our health (if not more) than moringa and tiger nuts.

Chances are you have olive oil in your cabinets. It might be hidden behind the coconut oil or ghee, but it’s probably there. Take that bottle out and have a look at it — not all olive oils are created equal. If you see it’s a “blended” olive oil or “light” olive oil, you may want to recycle it. Many olive oils are not actually olive, but a combo of other inferior oils. If your bottle says “extra virgin” or “extra virgin cold pressed,” you’re in good shape.

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Olive oil is one ingredient that has stood the test of time. In terms of day-to-day benefits, regular olive oil intake improves the symptoms of PMS, may improve fertility, and may help fight weight gain (via improvements in insulin resistance). The main fat in olive oil, oleic acid, is anti-inflammatory. But it’s one of the antioxidants in olive oil, oleocanthal, that provides many of the benefits, with anti-inflammatory properties that are on par with ibuprofen.

I know the term inflammation gets used a lot and I think we forget exactly what it means. It’s hard to avoid inflammation as many dietary and lifestyle factors contribute to it: sugar, fried foods, stress, being overweight, drinking, even birth control pills play a role in creating inflammation. And why is inflammation so bad? Most major disease (including autoimmune diseases, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer) are routed in inflammation.

To take advantage of the benefits of olive oil, consume at least one tablespoon per day. You want to be consistent to reap olive oil’s benefits versus just using it sporadically. In our office we’re fond of olive oil/apple cider vinegar shots. Cheers!

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