There’s a reason why the Mediterranean Diet was rated #1 in Best Diets Overall by U.S. New and World Report in 2020. The Mediterranean diet not only provides a wide variety of health benefits but, is also versatile and rich in flavor. The Mediterranean Diet is labeled as a “diet”, but can be considered more of a lifestyle due to its ability to be easily maintained over the lifespan. This “diet” limits red meat, sugar and processed foods and includes many fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, herbs, spices, and healthy fats such as olive oil.
Olive oil is a heart healthy fat that is a staple in the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is a type of fat classified as an unsaturated fat, meaning it has one or more double bonds. Consuming foods comprised of unsaturated fat, such as olive oil, can have many health benefits such as helping to lower LDL, also known as “bad cholesterol, and raise HDL or “good” cholesterol. Not only can olive oil help to promote heart health, it has many other benefits such as supporting the nervous system and helping to reduce inflammation.
Other Health Benefits of Olive Oil:
- Including this heart healthy fat in meals and snacks can help keep you fuller longer!
- Fat is essential for bodily functions such as coating nerves, organ protection, hormone production, cell growth and energy so why not choose a healthy fat like olive oil!
- Research shows that replacing saturated fats like butter with unsaturated fats such as olive oil can help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as coronary heart disease.
- Plant polyphenols like those in olive oil have antioxidant properties, which may protect against certain types of cancers.
- According to the American Heart Association, studies have shown that olive oil may help to lower the risk of heart disease and improve cardiovascular health.
Olive oil can be used in both savory and sweet dishes so next time you cook try reaching for this heart healthy and delicious addition to any meal!
written for The Furies by Isabelle Corgel, RD