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Using olive oil may help lower your cholesterol.
Using olive oil in your diet may decrease your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Try replacing butter, margarine and other cooking oils in your diet with olive oil. You'll get healthy fat, antioxidants and a subtle olive flavor from this Mediterranean oil.
Dietary fats, such as olive oil, play an essential role in providing energy, keeping cell membranes healthy and regulating cell function. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K rely on dietary fat for absorption. Fats contribute more energy per gram than proteins or carbohydrates. If you're trying to gain weight or have a hard time eating enough calories per day, using olive oil daily may help you reach your goals. You'll get 119 calories from just 1 tablespoon of olive oil, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Healthy Form of Fat
From 1 tablespoon of olive oil you'll get 13.5 grams of fat. About 11 grams of this total comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. According to MayoClinic.com, these fats may improve your health when eaten in moderation by helping lower your cholesterol, maintain normal blood clotting, regulate insulin levels and stabilize blood sugar. If you have diabetes or heart disease, using olive oil instead of high-saturated-fat foods, such as butter, may improve your condition.
Plant foods contain different types and amounts of unique phytochemicals, or plant chemicals. Olive oil contains tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol, which are antioxidants. Among other benefits, these compounds may reduce your risk of developing chronic disease by neutralizing harmful free radicals in your body. According to an article published in the journal "Current Alzheimer Research" in August 2011, the phytochemicals in olive oil may also be neuroprotective and may prevent Alzheimer's disease.
You can use olive oil as you would use any other oil in recipes for cooking, baking or making salad dressings. Depending on the variety of oil, it may have a mild to moderate olive flavor that pairs well with Mediterranean recipes, such as hummus and bruschetta. Store your olive oil in a dark, cool cupboard or the refrigerator. Exposure to light and air may degrade the flavor and health benefits of olive oil. As with all fats, use olive oil in moderation to prevent weight gain from excess calories.