A Healthy Pantry: What Makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil So Good for Us

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We at California Olive Ranch invite you to join us in our project to craft a healthier pantry! No surprise here, we always have extra virgin olive oil on hand. It’s an extremely versatile, delicious, and, of course, healthy oil – we use it to sauté, bake, fry, drizzle, roastdip… the list goes on. But what is it exactly that makes extra virgin olive oil healthy? Let’s break it down:

  1. Antioxidants

The antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil are its claim to fame. These phenolic compounds destroy free radicals, kill cancer cells, and thus reduce the risk of heart disease and increase longevity.

  1. Oleocanthal

This specific phenolic compound found in extra virgin olive oil is said to be responsible for the burning or tingling sensation that is experienced when tasting a high quality extra virgin olive oil. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and as such can have similar effects to pain-killers and fever reducers. It can also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and kill cancer cells; the oleocanthal clears beta-amyloid plaques from the brain.

  1. Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs)

Monounsaturated fats are the type of fatty acid commonly found in nuts and high fatty fruits, like olives and avocados. These types of fats are central to the Mediterranean lifestyle, and studies have shown that they can increase the fluidity and elasticity of the cell membranes, and at about 75% MUFA content, extra virgin olive oil is a great source. The MUFAs in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil per day can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and color cancer.

  1. Vitamin E

Each tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil has about 1.9 mg of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble anti-oxidant that can protect the body against eye and skin problems and in fact make hair and skin much healthier. It has also been shown to protect the body from diabetes, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and lung cancer.

  1. Vitamin K

Vitamin K is another fat-soluble vitamin that has its greatest effect on the blood. It is necessary for healthy coagulation and the levels of calcium in the blood. 1 tablespoon of olive oil a day will fill 10% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin K, and can help protect against insulin resistance and several types of cancer.


Still need convincing? There are pages of additional studies that cite the value and benefits of a diet in which extra virgin olive oil plays a central role. Check out these links for more information on extra virgin olive oil preventing or helping reduce:

So, continue to eat a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil per day – for your health!

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