The health benefits of olive oil include being part of a heart smart diet with its heart healthy fat. However, should cooking with olive oil be part of your heart smart diet?
There are cultures that make olive oil a big part of their diet and these people seem to have less heart trouble than we are seeing in our "industrial" way of living.
Unfortunately, cooking with olive oil may not be the best idea for getting the most health benefits of olive oil.
It has a low smoking point (in spite of what some people say) and is a somewhat fragile oil that will lose some of its best properties when overheated.
To make the most of your heart smart diet, consume this oil in its uncooked state. And some people like to dip their bread into olive oil to get their health benefits of olive oil.
The beneficial health effects of olive oil is due to its high content of monounsaturated fat and high antioxidant levels.
Olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling your "LDL" bad cholesterol level while raising your "HDL" good cholesterol level.
Oleic acid is what makes this monounsaturated fat so powerful and olive oil contains some of the highest amounts.
And antioxidants like vitamin E and polyphenols are abundant in good quality olive oil.
In places where people consume a lot of olive oil, there is a lower incidence of heart disease.
Most people think that cooking with olive oil is safe and healthy. Well it is as long as the cooking temperature doesn't exceed 200-250 degrees F.
And some people would argue that good quality olive oil will lose its olive oil nutrition when heated past 116 degrees.
Cooking with olive oil past this temperature really starts to denature olive oil and you will lose most of the powerful anti-oxidants associated with this oil.
It is much better to top off your entree than cooking with olive oil. This will greatly contribute to your heart smart diet because you will receive the most nutritional health benefits.