Superfood Spotlight: Why Olive Oil Might Be Our Favorite Kitchen StaplePublished:
Who doesn’t love fried food? It’s okay. This is a safe space. You can be honest. Even if you’re completely health-conscious with phenomenal levels of self-control, you’ve probably heard a french fry or donut call your name at least once in the last few years.
Why? Because fried food is delicious. There, we said it. But it’s also pretty bad for you. Or, at least, it is here in North America. But we found a very interesting study conducted across the pond. And it focused on something you’ve probably already got in your pantry: olive oil.
Why olive oil is an absolute gamechanger.
A study conducted in Spain looked at over 40,000 people for over a decade. And it found that when food was fried in olive oil, it did not (we repeat, did not) meaningfully contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, even when people were eating fried foods regularly.
Huh? Sounds crazy, but it makes sense when you look at a key difference in how Europeans are frying their food. While we usually fry our foods in saturated fats, which are pretty much the worst for heart health, the people in this study were using olive oil, a monounsaturated fatty acid. And monosaturated fatty acids are healthy dietary fats. In fact, olive oil might actually help you keep your heart healthy, studies show.
But wait, there’s more.
And, it turns out, olive oil isn’t just awesome if you’re craving something fried and want to make the healthy choice. It’s got some other impressive benefits, too. Namely:
- It’s high in antioxidants.
- It’s anti-inflammatory.
- It’s antibacterial.
- It might fight Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
- It protects against type 2 diabetes.
Which olive oil is best?
You’ve probably stood in the aisle of your grocery store, eyeing the seemingly endless options for olive oil. And it’s worth knowing what all those labels mean. To get the healthiest olive oil, choose one that’s:
- Cold-pressed or cold-extracted, since heat can damage the antioxidants.
- Extra virgin. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) is produced without any chemicals.
- Recently harvested. Most olive oil bottles will have a harvest date on them.
- In a dark glass bottle, which protects the olive oil from light and oxygen damage.
So the next time you’re sauteeing some veggies, looking for a dipping sauce for your bread or a dressing for your salad, or want to create a delicious marinade, olive oil’s there to help.