We Need Fat
Fat is essential for our health – but not all fats are created equal. Some fats help reduce our risks of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer; they feed our brain and our nails, hair and skin so we look good too. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best and most useful of these fats. Good for cooking and salad dressings, olive oil is in a class of its own.
Olive Oil is "Good" Fat
The "good fats" we eat improve our cholesterol levels, raising our "good" (HDL) cholesterol levels. Fish, raw nuts, seeds and avocados are all sources of the good fat we need to stay healthy. Extra virgin olive oil contains monounsaturated – Omega 9 – fatty acids and antioxidants called phenols, which research suggests is why it is good for our heart and cardiovascular system. It can help lower blood pressure; it's an anti-inflammatory, and it seems to give us some protection against diabetes and cancer.
Olive Oil Salad Dressing
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Blend ingredients with fork. Let mixture sit for an hour or more before using. Blend again before drizzling over salad. Enjoy.
Are some olive oils better than others?
Yes. The best kind to use is extra virgin. It contains more of the nutrients and antioxidants that give health benefits. Other grades of virgin olive oil are still fine to use, but look for "extra virgin" on the label.
Eggs, meat, cheese, and butter all contain a type of fat known as saturated fat—along with protein and other nutrients. These fats should be eaten in moderation. Dr Miles Hassell recommends that animal foods like these take up no more than one quarter of your plate. On his whole food Mediterranean diet, one or two eggs a day are allowed – so long as your diet is largely plant-based. He suggests mixing three parts butter with one part extra-virgin olive oil to create "better butter".
Fats to Avoid
Other fats increase our risks of disease. Processed foods often contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, which keep very well on supermarket shelves, but have been shown to raise your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, allergies, and more. Dr Miles Hassell recommends avoiding these fats completely. Read the labels and you can see how many commercially processed foods contain these fats. This is one more reason why cooking your own food is a good idea.
Other Cooking Oils
Walnut, sesame, soy and canola oils are your next best choices to olive oil.