Adapted from an article in Duke Medicine Health News, September 2020, Vol. 6, No. 9
Excerpted from Fresh Pressed Olive Oil club health
Go ahead. Dip that crusty Italian bread in a saucer of seasoned olive oil and take a big, guilt-free bite.
Research shows that consuming more olive oil is associated with less risk of heart attack among Americans, especially when it replaces butter, mayonnaise, or margarine.
A study performed at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston, showed that replacing 1 teaspoon of butter, margarine, mayonnaise, or dairy fat with the same amount of olive oil lowered the risk of any cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 5 percent and lowered the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by 7 percent.
People who consumed even higher amounts of olive oil—half a tablespoon daily—had a 15 percent lower risk of any kind of CVD and a 21 percent lower risk of CHD.
This study took place between 1990 and 2014 and included 63,867 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 35,512 men from the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study. All participants were free of cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases at the start of the study.
Among the researchers’ noteworthy observations were: Olive oil can have favorable effects on endothelial dysfunction, hypertension, inflammation, insulin sensitivity, and diabetes.
Previous studies have shown that olive oil—especially the virgin grade—that is richer in polyphenolic compounds is associated with lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers and a better lipid profile; and despite olive oil being a high-fat food, it has not been associated with weight gain.
The researchers stress the importance of substituting olive oil for other fats. The main thing is to replace unhealthy fats with olive oil, and that can improve cholesterol, reduce inflammatory biomarkers, and improve cardiovascular health. The results echo a 2013 study that found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil for five years had a 30 percent lower risk of heart attack or stroke.
They also showed a slower rate of cognitive decline and were better able to control their weight.
Reference: Guasch-Ferré M, Liu G, Li Y, et al. Olive oil consumption and cardiovascular risk in US adults. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020;75(15):1729-1739.
Diced pancetta and balsamic vinegar make these an unforgettable side dish. Another plus? The sprouts can be braised on the stovetop, freeing up valuable real estate in your oven.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pounds baby brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed (cut larger ones in half)
- Salt and pepper
- 6 ounces pancetta in small dice (1 1/2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup rich chicken broth, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foamy. Add the brussels sprouts, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the diced pancetta, and sauté, tossing frequently, until the sprouts are well browned and softened slightly and the pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes more.
A couple spoonsful of antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil boosts the nutritional value of your pre- or post-workout smoothie.
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk 10 raw cashews
- 1 handful baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt (kosher or sea)
- Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Combine the fruits, almond milk, cashews, and spinach in a blender and run the machine until the mixture is smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil, salt, and cinnamon, if using. Makes one 16-ounce smoothie.