Who could deny the deliciousness of a fresh and vibrant salad? It’s a great way to get your daily dose of greens and other nutritious foods, but have you ever considered adding a little something extra? Rather than using a cream-based dressing, why not make a delightful homemade vinaigrette with olive oil as the base? Not only will it add a delightful flavor, but it is also an excellent great source of healthy fats. Let’s look at some other reasons to add olive oil to your next salad.
Olive oil boosts the absorption of some nutrients
Would you like to maximize the nutritional benefits of the leafy greens in your salad? Add some olive oil. Monounsaturated fats in olive oil boost the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, including vitamins A, E, D, and K. Leafy greens contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and precursor to vitamin A.
Unless you add a source of fat to your salad, you will only absorb a small percentage of the beta-carotene from your leafy greens. Plus, leafy greens are packed with vitamin K, a vitamin important for blood clotting and bone health. Without a source of fat, you won’t maximize the absorption of vitamin K either.
Olive oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is the immune process that helps us heal from cuts and wounds. However, low-grade inflammation, in the absence of an injury, increases the risk of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and some forms of cancer.
Oleocanthal is an active compound found in extra virgin olive oil that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces pain and swelling by inhibiting the enzymes that produce proinflammatory compounds by as much as 50 percent. This limits both acute and chronic inflammatory responses. By reducing low-grade inflammation, you lower your risk for heart disease (which is caused by plaque buildup) and stroke.
Studies show regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet, has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic degenerative disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The health benefits of EVOO are attributed to its monounsaturated fats and phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Olive oil is heart-healthy
Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which can lower LDL cholesterol. Plus, the antioxidants in olive oil help counter oxidative damage that contributes to inflammation and blood vessel damage. According to the American Heart Association, studies show that consuming more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day may lower heart disease risk and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Another risk factor for cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure. Studies reveal that consuming extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can lower systolic blood pressure and reduce the dosage of blood pressure medication people with high blood pressure need.
Olive oil has antibacterial properties
Not only is olive oil great for your heart, but it also has anti-bacterial benefits, especially for a pathogen that lives in the gut called Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can cause stomach ulcers and cancer. Laboratory studies show it can fight eight strains of this bacterium, including three that are resistant to antibiotics. A study in humans suggested that consuming 30 grams of extra virgin olive oil daily can eliminate Helicobacter pylori infection in 10-40% of people in as little as two weeks. So, olive oil has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits.
Olive oil may protect against type 2 diabetes
Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, which may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet—which emphasizes olive oil, nuts, whole grains, and fish—is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes. Studies show the anti-inflammatory effects of olive oil improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Extra virgin olive oil reduces blood sugar and cholesterol levels more than other kinds of fats, making it beneficial for people with diabetes.
Olive oil may improve bone health
Did you know that olive oil can help improve the health of your bones? According to the National Institutes of Health, studies show daily consumption of olive oil may prevent a decline in bone mineral density and improve bone turnover markers. The research suggests that olive oil could reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. What’s more, olive oil is a delicious and healthy addition to many different dishes, making it an ideal way to dress up a salad. Use extra virgin olive oil sparingly, but often. Add it to dressings or simply drizzle over the top of your salad greens. A small amount of olive oil is healthier than none!
In short, olive oil is a great way to add flavor, calories, and nutrition to your salad. It’s also one of the healthiest fats you can eat! Olive oil not only adds a pleasant taste but also provides healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidant polyphenols. Enjoy its health benefits!
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