OLIVE oil is a good source of Omega 9 mono-unsaturated fats when used as part of a healthy balanced diet.  It is linked with good heart health in the Mediterranean diet as it contains antioxidant polyphenols and flavonoids.

Polyphenols and flavonoids can protect against inflammation in the body.  Too much inflammation in the body can provide an environment for inflammatory diseases to prosper like heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc. 

A portion size is a teaspoon of oil which is about 3g.  This is all you need and ties in with the Eatwell guide where we live. Olive oil is great in cooking, particularly to sauté vegetables, and the stronger and more flavoursome extra-virgin olive oil makes an excellent salad dressing.

Virgin and extra-virgin olive oil contains more polyphenols like gallic acid and tyrosol as well as flavonoids like luteolin and lignans.  Virgin means less processed and so more of the good stuff.  This all makes olive oil unique in comparison to other culinary oils.  Also, within virgin olive oil there are more plant sterols that can lower cholesterol, not to mention more vitamin E being maintained too in the virgin product.  Vitamin E is also an antioxidant, and it helps with our nervous systems too. 

Let’s go olive oil and follow our Mediterranean counterparts. 

Lee McCusker (BA; MSc; MSc; MSc; ANutr; SENr) is a registered nutritionist from Belfast and can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Email: attentive nutrition@gmail.com