Olive Oil: Good Or Bad For You?

In our kitchen, olive oil (rather than butter or other oils) is the go-to for cooking. But have we been making the right choice? And if we have, are all olive oils created equal? Which ones are best for cooking? For antioxidant value?  Dr. Mark Hyman sums up in EcoWatch.

The most important polyunsaturated fats are alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid is the famous omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils. These are highly anti-inflammatory, and I want you to eat plenty of them daily.

Photo credit: Shutterstock
Olive oil has been tested vigorously. From this testing, researchers have determined why it can maintain integrity under heat and exposure to harsh cooking conditions such as high heat baking, sautéing and even frying. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Linoleic acid is the omega-6 fatty acid ubiquitously found in plant foods like nuts and seeds (hemp, borage, safflower, sunflower, corn, sesame, etc.) and even some animal fats.

Monounsaturated fats, like polyunsaturated fats, also contain a double bond—but just one, hence the “mono.” With just a single double bond, these fats are the best of both worlds.

Monounsaturated fats are fluid and readily available to every cell in the body, yet they are not as fragile as polyunsaturated fats, making them a sturdy fat that can stand up to heat better than polyunsaturated fats. Remember, polyunsaturated fats have more kinks in their chain, making them less sturdy.

Monounsaturated fats get their claim to fame from their oleic fatty acids. Many of you have probably read in my articles or books that high-oleic fatty acids are ideal for our health.  My favorite source of this happens to be olive oil, especially the extra-virgin kind.

So if olive oil is only somewhat sturdy (yet able to withstand heat better than polyunsaturated fats), perhaps cooking with olive oil isn’t the safest thing in the culinary world?

Well, theoretically that would make logical sense and we would only be cooking with sturdy saturated fats. However, there is more to olive oil than just being a monounsaturated fat…

Continue reading here.

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