Olive oil, a fat obtained from the fruit of the olive tree, is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. MUFAs are considered a healthy dietary fat, as opposed to saturated fats and trans fats.
Results of studies conducted in Barcelona, Spain suggest that people who regularly consume olive oil are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, and hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels). Olive oil intake also appears to help reduce inflammation, endothelial dysfunction (problems with the inner linings of blood vessels), thrombosis, and carbohydrate metabolism.
There are several varieties of olive oils, all of which have different flavor profiles, smoke points, and cooking purposes, but that goes beyond the scope of this post. A quick Google search, however, will provide more information than you would ever require!
Recently there have been concerns with regard to cooking with olive oil and its potential to develop toxic compounds, despite the lack of proof. Recent studies have shown that olive oil is perfectly safe to cook with but, like all oils, will break down, lose flavor and lose nutrients at high heat. If you avoid the smoke point (the point at which the oil actually smokes!) you will prevent any nutrient loss and any unpleasant off-flavors that could affect the taste of your finished dish.
It should be noted, however, that olive oils in dark or black bottles are generally higher quality and better tasting than those in clear bottles!
There you have it. Now go get yourself some! #oliveoil #nutrition #infographic