I Yam What I Yam: Olive Oil’s Benefits:

It has been accepted for some time now that olive oil’s abundance of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) is considered a healthy source of dietary fats.  MUFAs may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. MUFAs may also help normalize blood clotting. And some research shows that MUFAs may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

And now, olive oil has been found to help memory as well.  In a study published in Annals of Neurology, women over 65 who ate the most saturated (bad) fat were up to 65% more likely to experience cognitive decline as opposed to those who ate the least. Women who consumed the most monounsaturated fat were 44% less likely to decline in verbal memory scores and 48% less likely to decline overall cognition.

The Mayo Clinic cautions that even the healthier fats like those in olive oil are high in calories, so use them only in moderation. Choose MUFA-rich foods such as olive oil instead of other fatty foods – particularly butter and stick margarine – not in addition to them. And remember, you can’t make unhealthy foods healthier simply by adding olive oil to them!

Another consideration with olive oil is keeping it fresh so you can get all its benefits.  Olive oil is sensitive to heat (don’t store it near the stove or oven) as well as being nutritionally-decayed by light.  Avoid storing it by a window. Ultraviolet rays can break down olive oil over time (that’s why it’s usually bottled in dark green bottles or in boxes).

 

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