Olive Oil and Weight Loss

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Olive Oil and Weight Loss
Olive Oil and Weight Loss (Image: Smabs Sputzer on Flickr Creative Commons, http://www.flickr.com/photos/10413717@N08/3868212179/)

Olive oil is a beneficial part of a healthy diet. When eaten in moderation along with other healthy, whole foods, olive oil can help bring about weight loss. When planning a weight-loss diet, keep in mind that no food is a miracle food that will make you lose weight and keep it off. For years, doctors have agreed that the most reliable route to permanent weight loss is a combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet that is rich in natural foods.

Monounsaturated Fats

Olive oil, like other oils, is a fat. Fats are an essential part of a balanced diet and should not be avoided. In fact, fats should make up about 25 to 35 percent of a day's total caloric intake. Nutritionists have labeled olive oil a "good" fat because it is high in beneficial monounsaturated fats, which are linked to prevention of heart disease. When comparing the amounts of monounsaturated fat in a variety of oils, such as vegetable oil and corn oil, choose olive oil for overall health reasons.

Antioxidants

Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants, a form of nutrients helpful in fighting off a variety of diseases and keeping the immune system strong. When trying to lose weight, exercise often and consume foods that are good sources of antioxidants. Other oils don't have the same antioxidant properties, so choose olive oil for most of your cooking and baking needs.

Other Nutritional Properties

Olive oil's monounsaturated fats may help the body break down other, less healthful fats. The oil also has anti-inflammatory properties. To cut your risk of heart disease and reduce your consumption of harmful fats, use olive oil in place of butter to dip bread and work on substituting it in your diet in place of other fats.

Serving

Use olive oil to prepare foods by heating a skillet with the oil and using it to sauté vegetables or meat. Its fruity tones and robust flavor also make it a good choice for salad dressings or pasta toppings. Make a simple salad dressing by combining olive oil with other flavorings, such as Dijon mustard or spices. For a pasta sauce, use olive oil in combination with sautéed garlic or Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

Olive oil can also be used in baking. Some recipes specifically call for olive oil. In others, use olive oil as a substitute for some or all of the butter in a recipe. On a weight-loss diet, try to limit overall calories and consume baked goods only occasionally.

Mediterranean Diet

A Mediterranean diet consists of foods eaten by people in the Mediterranean region of the world. Choose this diet for a strong, healthy heart and gradual weight loss. The Mediterranean diet includes regular consumption of olive oil, red wine, fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. Get regular exercise if you choose this diet, and limit your intake of red meat.

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