With the new year, many healthy resolutions come: doing more outdoor activities, going to the gym, planning your meals and cooking whole foods instead of abusing of ultra-processed ones, and even dieting to lose weight or improve overall health. And when it comes to these purposes you might even think you have to reduce the consumption of fats.
However, the reality is that fat consumption is necessary. Reducing trans fats or saturated fats is always going to have health benefits, but you must remember that consuming fat (as long as it is healthy) is a must within your diet. For this reason, we recommend that you choose the best sources, such as extra virgin olive oil, a product with multiple nutritional advantages we want to talk to you about.
Why include extra virgin olive oil in your diet?
- The importance of extra virgin olive oil in different diets.
- The 10 benefits of including extra virgin olive oil in your diet.
1. The importance of extra virgin olive oil in different diets.
1.1. Extra virgin olive oil in the Mediterranean diet.
Although you will find everything you want to learn in this article, you should know that extra virgin olive oil is the main fat source within the Mediterranean diet. Based on products from the garden, legumes, fish, eggs and lean meats, this diet gives rise to balanced and nutritious gastronomic elaborations in the different countries bathe by the Mediterranean.
Recent studies have observed the advantages of the Mediterranean diet and the use of olive oil as the main fat been, substituting other processed oils (such as sunflower) and, in most preparations, other butters (both of animal and plant-based).
More specifically, there is scientific evidence that, in this diet, extra virgin olive oil has been one of the key foods in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and in the protection of diseases such as Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and some types of cancer, among others benefits that you can check below.
1.2. Extra virgin olive oil in the keto diet.
The keto diet –increasingly one of the diets selected by many people who want to improve digestive, energy and mental performance problems–, is characterized by a high consumption of fat (70% of the intake) and a low consumption of carbohydrates. And while it can have many benefits for certain health problems, it’s also true that it can carry certain risks if we don’t care about the origin and quality of the fat consumed.
For this reason, those who follow a keto diet must be especially careful with the consumption of trans and saturated fats, which in the long term can be harmful to health. Therefore, the best option is to opt for the intake of whole fatty foods such as oily fish, eggs, dairy food, avocado and nuts, complemented with extra virgin olive oil in each dish.
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1.3. Extra virgin olive oil in the vegetarian diet.
As you probably already know, the vegetarian diet is one in which the consumption of animal-based products is limited. Some people are more restrictive than others and therefore, within this diet, there are certain variants. Those who opt only for the consumption of dairy products (cheese, butter and yogurt) are known as lacto-vegetarians; those that only consume eggs are ovo-vegetarian; while people who eat both products follow an ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet.
In any of these cases, you may have observed that the foods included in these vegetarian diets, although they are mostly protein, also include a high proportion of fat. These can be complemented with whole fatty foods such as avocado or nuts, as well as with the use of extra virgin olive oil, whose origin is 100% vegetable. With this contribution it’s possible to obtain the right daily intake of lipids, without this implying a deterioration in health.
1.4. Extra virgin olive oil in the vegan diet.
Unlike the vegetarian, the vegan diet doesn’t admit any animal-based product, many of which can have healthy fats (in greater or lesser proportion) needed to the human organism. For this reason, in the vegan diet it’s especially important consider the quality and nutritional contribution of food. To avoid unhealthy plant-based fats and oils, it’s key to opt for the consumption of extra virgin olive oil. This oil has a higher composition of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and along with nuts or fatty foods such as avocado, are healthier.
This means that it’s important that you take into account both the food and the macronutrients that you consume and that you observe what contribution of vitamins, minerals or fatty acids your meals have. Therefore, if you don’t want to have a deficit of some essential elements for your body (such as the usual vitamin B12) it’s very important that you implement this diet rigorously.
In fact, you may need to incorporate some vegan-sourced vitamin supplements until you can adapt to this diet, especially if you are new to it. Nor should you feel guilty if in the process you go back to consuming an animal product as in the vegetarian diet, since, as we say, it takes a while to fully adapt.
2. The 10 benefits of including extra virgin olive oil in your diet.
As you have seen, including virgin olive oil in a balanced way and adapted to your type of diet can help prevent you from feeling satiated and have the energy your body needs. But in addition, there are many studies that prove its health benefits and, although you will find all the information you need on our page about Health, we want to summarize the advantages of including this food in your diet:
- It is a source of vitamins (mainly E and K but also A and D) and polyphenols that, along with fatty acids, have a great antioxidant capacity, thus protecting against ageing.
- In addition, oleic acid and antioxidants help prevent the appearance of cancer cells and the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- These same antioxidants help improve the immune response, as well as prevent oxidative stress (especially useful for athletes).
- It also contains healthy components such as hydroxytyrosol or oleocanthal which, for example, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Its consumption helps regulate the production of pancreatic insulin, controlling blood glucose levels, very beneficial in patients with Diabetes.
- Substituting other types of saturated fats for this oil allows to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). For this same reason, it’s a food that favors the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and arteriosclerosis.
- It actively intervenes in the digestive functions of the body, helping in the absorption of nutrients and calcium, even from childhood.
- Thanks to its composition, it can even be used as a remedy to hydrate the skin, which is why it’s an element frequently seen in cosmetics.
- Extra virgin olive oil is a 100% natural fat of vegetable origin, so it’s suitable for all types of diet, without exclusions.
- In the kitchen, extra virgin olive oil is very versatile and is the best fat for frying thanks to its great resistance.