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The Benefits of Olive Oil

We’ve been making changes to our diets and eating healthy fats is just one of the things we’ve been doing.  There are mixed messages out there and everyone has their own opinions about which is best.  But, at my house, were die hard fans of olive oil and coconut oil, and (gasp) organic butter.  Real butter.  Preferably from grass fed cows if you can find it.

We use coconut oil for frying.  We use butter for baking, finishing sauces, and slathering bread.  And finally, we use olive oil for pretty much everything else.  We saute in it, we pan fry in it, roast veggies in it., use it to make salad dressings, and lots more.  And that is it.  I don’t buy any other oils or fats.  I can do everything I need to do with these three things and feel good about the choices we are making for our health.

Why use Olive Oil?

According to Donald Hensrud, M.D. {Mayo Clinic Preventive Medicine Specialist}:  The main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids and is actually considered a healthy dietary fat.  If your diet emphasizes unsaturated fats you may gain certain health benefits.

Monounsaturated fats may help lower your risk of heart disease by improving related risk factors. For instance, monounsaturated fatty acids may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. They may also help normalize blood clotting. And some research shows that they may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

What you buy and how you store it matters!

I buy extra virgin olive oil – cold pressed.  Technically, you can use a lower grade olive oil for cooking and only use the top shelf (extra virgin- cold pressed) for making salad dressings or eating right out of the bottle. Lower grades are cheaper but I use the extra virgin olive oil for everything.   I believe that it has the best health benefits.  Here’s why: Extra Virgin olive oil must be produced entirely by mechanical means without the use of any solvents, and under temperatures that will not degrade the oil (less than 86°F, 30°C).  In order for an oil to qualify as “extra virgin” the oil must also pass both an official chemical test in a laboratory and a sensory evaluation by a trained tasting panel recognized by the International Olive Council.

Heat, light, and air can affect the taste of olive oil and possibly its health-promoting nutrients. Store olive oil in a dark, room-temperature cupboard. The fats and healthy phytonutrients in olive oil — as well as the taste — can slowly degrade over time, so it’s probably best to use it within a year or within six months once opened.

What oils do you use and why?

*Disclosure: I am a Walmart Mom. This post is sponsored by Walmart. Walmart has provided me with product and/or compensation in exchange for my time and efforts in creating this post. My participation is voluntary. As always, my opinion is my own.

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