Olive oil is commonly used in cooking and for dressing dishes such as roasted vegetables, pasta, and salads. Yet some people believe that drinking olive oil is a great way to receive all the health benefits.
Yes, olive oil is well-known for its many health benefits, but should we really be drinking it? In this article we will discover if a spoonful of olive oil a day is good for you.
Why Would People Want To “Drink” Olive Oil?
It is said that olive oil has many health benefits. It has high antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties. Some people even believe that olive oil will help protect you against certain illnesses. While other sources say that people drink olive oil to help them lose weight or soothe any stomach issues a person may be dealing with.
It is believed that some people in the Mediterranean are known for drinking 60 milliliters/ ¼ of a cup of olive oil every morning. People believe that drinking the oil directly has better benefits than just cooking with the oil alone. However, it is worth noting that these claims haven’t been proven through research.
Benefits Of Drinking Olive Oil
It may surprise you that there are several benefits from drinking olive oil, which you can find out about below.
About 34% of adults aged 60 years old and above suffer from constipation. Drinking a spoonful of olive oil a day has been said to relieve these issues. Studies have shown that giving a teaspoon of olive oil to those who are constipated over a month significantly softened their stools.
More and more studies are looking into the effect of consuming olive oil, and the result seems to be that olive oil can soften your stool, however more research is needed to see if that olive oil can relieve constipation.
Helps Meet Recommended Healthy Fats Intake
On average, most people today eat enough total fats, but they may struggle to eat enough monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These two fatty acids are typically found in nuts, seeds and in certain oils.
Most dietary requirements say that 20 to 35% of your calories should come from fat, but in particular monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Monounsaturated fatty acids are extremely important, they are really beneficial as they help reduce your risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fatty acids can be found in some animal products but eating plant-based sources will give you a greater beneficial impact.
Olive oil is actually one of richest sources of monounsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, drinking olive oil will help you meet your daily recommended intake of this fat for your diet.
Olive oil is known to have anti-inflammatory effects. It can offer pain relief, similar to over the counter medications, but without any potential side-effects.
Olive oil is known as a healthy heart fat and is believed to reduce your risk of heart disease. Oleic acid is found in high quantities in olive oil and this is what gives olive oil its healthy heart qualities.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that if you replace fats and oils that are high in saturated fats with 1.5 tablespoons of oils that are high in oleic acid every day, this can also reduce your risk of heart disease.
Another study discovered that people who drank 4 tablespoons of olive oil every day, would be 30% less likely to even develop heart disease, compared to other people who followed a low fat diet for 5 years.
There have been a lot of studies involving olive oil intake and heart disease, yet with all the research more needs to be done to really prove the claims.
A study was conducted, which showed that by consuming 20 milliliters (18 grams) of olive oil a day, resulted in the people having stronger bones. Their bone density had risen, compared to other people in the study that had a lot less olive oil a day.
Stabilizes Blood Sugars
A study was carried out where the blood sugars of two groups were observed. One group had a meal containing olive oil, while the other did not.
After 2 hours, the study showed that there was a 22% reduction in the blood sugars from the group who ate the meal containing olive oil, compared to those who didn’t.
Disadvantages Of Drinking Olive Oil
Olive oil isn’t all good news I’m afraid to say, there are a couple of disadvantages to drinking olive oil everyday.
High In Calories
Every tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories. Also if you consume more calories than you can burn, this can then lead to weight gain. Also from a recent study showed that consuming more monounsaturated fatty acids can also lead to extra weight gain.
If you want to drink olive oil, you need to beware your calorie intake and adjust it accordingly. Or you will have to complete more exercise to burn the extra calories that you are consuming.
Better Consumed With Food
Consuming olive oil with other foods will provide you with more benefits, than drinking olive oil directly.
Consuming olive oil with tomato products like a tomato sauce increases the absorption of the antioxidants in the tomatoes. Also consuming olive oil with food tastes a lot better.
Alongside this, olive oil might be a healthy fat, it’s not as nutritious as eating healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables.
A lot of studies have been done to show the benefits of olive oil, however this research is still new. More research is needed to prove that what the first rounds of research are saying are true and reliable.
Verdict – Should You Be Drinking Olive Oil?
A spoonful of olive oil a day won’t harm you and might provide you with some limited benefits. However, once you start taking large amounts of olive oil a day then that would be a cause of concern.
Quite a few studies have shown that olive oil will provide you with some health benefits, mainly to do with your heart and keeping it healthy. However, by drinking too much olive oil you do start to run the risk of gaining weight and consuming too much of anything is never good.
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid, which a lot of us struggle to get our recommended dose, therefore drinking a spoonful a day would be able help us meet that guideline. Thus, it could be consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
A lot of people in the Mediterranean drink olive oil every morning and as long as it is in moderation, it shouldn’t cause you too much harm.
Yet, really a lot more research is needed to prove and certify the claims that olive oil makes. Without this definitive research, you should walk on the line of caution on how much olive oil you are consuming a day.
It does have some great benefits, but we need that extra research for us to feel safe and reassured that it is doing more good than harm