Olive oil comes from one of the oldest cultivated trees in the world, and it is revered in many religious texts as a symbol of peace, wealth, and good health. It’s also quite nutritious. Olive oil is produced by pressing olives from olive trees, which are common in the Mediterranean basin and are now grown worldwide.
Olive oil is the chief cooking oil of the Mediterranean region, Asia Minor, and some regions of North Africa. Its use is quickly spreading on other continents, particularly among health-conscious people.
Here are 10 facts that provide a healthy dose of information about olive oil.
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1. Olive oil is high in calories which come chiefly from fats.
2. A tablespoon of olive oil contains more calories and fat than the same amount of butter or margarine, but slightly less calories and total fat than a tablespoon of canola oil, corn oil, or soybean oil, according to aboutoliveoil.org. Per tablespoon, calorie and fat gram total 124 and 14 for canola oil, 120 and 13.6 for corn oil and soybean oil, 119 and 13.5 for olive oil, 102 and 12 for butter and 101 and 11.4 for margarine.
3. Olive oil’s high ratio of monounsaturated, or “good” fat, to saturated, or “bad” fat, qualifies it as one of the healthiest oils for consumption. A tablespoon of olive oil contains 9.9 grams of monounsaturated fat compared to 1.9 grams of saturated fat, said aboutoliveoil.com. It indicated those ratios are 8.9 to 1 for a tablespoon of canola oil, 3.8 to 1.8 for corn oil, 3.1 to 2 for soybean oil and 5.2 to 2 for margarine – while a tablespoon of butter has 1 gram of monounsaturated fat compared to 12.6 grams of saturated fat.
4. Olive oil has an excellent lipid profile, containing healthy proportions of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
5. Olive oil is a healthy choice because, many of its cooking substitutes, such as butter, are decidedly high in cholesterol. Olive oil is naturally cholesterol free and contains no trans fat, which studies indicate increase the risk of heart disease.
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6. Olive oil is the best edible oil in terms of palatability, stability, lipid profile, and safety profiles, according to nutrition-and-you.com.
7. Olive oil’s rich monounsaturated fatty acids help lower LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” and increase blood levels of HDL, or “good cholesterol.”
8. Olive oil is rich in vitamin K, which keeps bones strong and limits the damage of neurons damage in the brain. Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from harmful free radicals and promotes heart health.
9. Studies show that as days, weeks and months go by after harvest, the health benefits of olive oil diminish, according to livescience.com.
10. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration allowed olive oil to claim it reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. It stated “Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.”
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