What is the nutritional value of olive oil?
The health benefits of olive oil are plentiful and widely recognised. High in good fats and cholesterol free, discover the many health benefits of olive oil!
When ancient civilisations began making olive oil over 5,500 years ago, the health benefits and nutritional facts would’ve been a complete mystery to them. All they would’ve known is that the result of pressing olives makes for a delicious and versatile liquid gold — surely sent from the gods themselves!
Armed with modern science, we can begin to understand the nutritional value of olive oil. Before we bring out the lab coats, it’s worth noting that this article is talking about ‘extra virgin olive oil’ although good ‘olive oil’ is still a delicious way of eating healthy!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is cholesterol free
That’s right, extra virgin olive oil is completely free from cholesterol! Cooking oils such as palm oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil should be avoided if you want to reduce your cholesterol intake as these contain higher levels of saturated fat (this is known as bad fat) and less monounsaturated fat (good fat).
All of extra virgin olive oil’s calorific content comes from fat. If we take a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, it will contain 14g of fat, mainly good-for-you monounsaturated fat (9.86g, 1.42g polyunsaturated fat, 1.86g saturated fat).
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL IS PROTEIN FREE
But, protein is good, right? Well, not necessarily. Interestingly, areas with the oldest living populations in the world (known as ‘Blue Zones’) lead a mostly plant-based diet that has lower intakes of protein.
It’s true that protein is for building muscle, reducing muscle deterioration, and for bone health, however, in general many meat-heavy diets exceed the ‘safe’ amount of protein for an adult (not doing athletic activity) which is 0.8g per 1kg of body weight (60kg female would need to consume around 48g). The Australian diet has some of the highest intakes of protein in the world at an average of 1.2g per 1kg of body weight. Higher protein intakes can have negative effects on your kidneys and liver and are linked with heart disease and other serious health side effects.
By using a quality EVOO and swapping that red meat for a plant-based dish a few times a week, this may help you reduce excess protein intake.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL IS SODIUM FREE
A recent study revealed that Australians consume 9.9g of salt a day, when the recommended amount is around 5g to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is not a problem if you cook or dress your dishes with extra virgin olive oil, as it won't add a gram of sodium to your dishes!
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE IS HIGH IN VITAMIN E-K
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect body tissue from being damaged by what are known as ‘free radicals’ which can harm tissues, cells, and organs. Vitamin E helps to keep your immune system strong against bacteria and viruses and also helps form red blood cells. Vitamin E helps our bodies also use vitamin K which helps to heal wounds and may also help to keep bone healthy.
A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil provides approximately 13% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin E, and around 7% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin K.
ADDITIVE AND PRESERVATIVE FREE
At La Espanola, our extra virgin olive oil is made without chemicals, additives or preservatives so you can be sure you are creating beautiful dishes with high-quality olive oil with an authentic and healthy taste of Spain!