Olive Oil Is Not Just a Fad

By Dr Olivia Naturals Support • July 10, 2024

In the world of culinary arts and nutrition, trends come and go. One day, a superfood is all the rage, and the next, it's replaced by another. However, olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), stands out as a staple that transcends fleeting trends. It's not just a fad; it's a timeless ingredient with a rich history and a plethora of health benefits.

The Historical Significance of Olive Oil

Olive oil's roots trace back thousands of years, particularly in Mediterranean cultures. Ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks and Romans, revered olive oil not just as a food source but also for its medicinal properties and religious significance. This historical reverence is a testament to the oil's enduring value and multifaceted utility.

The Nutritional Powerhouse

Olive oil is celebrated for its impressive nutritional profile. When consumed in its raw state, it is incredibly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation, lower triglycerides, and even improve brain function.

Moreover, olive oil is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, which is often hailed as one of the healthiest dietary patterns in the world. Studies have shown that populations adhering to this diet have lower rates of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The secret lies in the diet's emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods, with olive oil playing a central role.

Raw Olive Oil: A Nutrient-Rich Delight

While olive oil can be used in various cooking methods, its nutritional benefits are maximized when consumed raw. Heating olive oil, especially to high temperatures, can degrade some of its beneficial compounds and reduce its overall health benefits. This is why I prefer to use it in its raw form, allowing me to enjoy its full spectrum of nutrients.

One of my favorite ways to consume raw olive oil is by drizzling it over fresh salads. The combination of crisp vegetables and the rich, smooth texture of olive oil creates a delightful harmony of flavors. Additionally, a simple slice of whole-grain bread dipped in high-quality EVOO, perhaps with a sprinkle of sea salt or herbs, can be an exquisite and healthy snack.

Cooking with Olive Oil: Know Your Limits

Although olive oil is versatile, it's important to understand its limitations when it comes to cooking at high temperatures. Olive oil has a relatively low smoke point compared to other oils, such as avocado or coconut oil. The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil begins to break down and produce smoke, which can result in the loss of beneficial nutrients and the formation of potentially harmful compounds.

For high-temperature cooking methods like frying or sautéing, it's best to opt for oils with higher smoke points. Avocado oil, for instance, has a smoke point of around 520°F (271°C), making it ideal for high-heat cooking. Coconut oil is another good option, with a smoke point of about 350°F (177°C).

Choosing the Right Olive Oil

Not all olive oils are created equal. The quality of olive oil can vary significantly based on factors such as the type of olives used, the region of production, and the extraction method. For the best quality, I recommend extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) from Italy. Italian EVOO is renowned for its superior flavor and quality, thanks to the country's ideal climate and traditional production methods.

When selecting olive oil, it's crucial to choose products that are packaged in glass or metal containers. These materials help protect the oil from light and air, which can degrade its quality over time. Clear plastic bottles should be avoided, as they offer minimal protection against these elements.

Incorporating Olive Oil into Your Diet

There are countless ways to incorporate olive oil into your daily meals. Here are some of my favorite methods:

  1. Salad Dressings: Whisk together EVOO, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and a touch of honey for a simple and delicious salad dressing.
  2. Marinades: Use olive oil as a base for marinades. Combine it with garlic, lemon juice, herbs, and spices to create a flavorful marinade for meats, fish, or vegetables.
  3. Dips: Create a Mediterranean-inspired dip by mixing EVOO with hummus or Greek yogurt, along with chopped fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. Pasta: Drizzle olive oil over cooked pasta and toss with fresh tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan cheese for a light and refreshing dish.
  5. Soups: Add a splash of EVOO to your soups just before serving to enhance the flavor and add a touch of richness.

Health Benefits Backed by Science

The health benefits of olive oil are supported by a wealth of scientific research. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Heart Health: Numerous studies have shown that olive oil can reduce the risk of heart disease. It helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. The antioxidants in olive oil, such as polyphenols, also protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are linked to heart disease.
  • Diabetes Management: Olive oil has been found to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Chronic inflammation is a major driver of many diseases. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, a compound with potent anti-inflammatory properties, similar to those of ibuprofen.
  • Cancer Prevention: Some studies suggest that the antioxidants in olive oil can help prevent certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.
  • Brain Health: The healthy fats in olive oil are essential for brain function and may help protect against cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.


Olive oil is far more than just a trendy ingredient; it is a timeless and versatile staple that offers numerous health benefits. By understanding how to use it properly and incorporating it into your diet in its raw form, you can reap the full benefits of this extraordinary oil. Whether you're drizzling it over a salad, dipping bread into it, or using it to enhance the flavor of your favorite dishes, olive oil is a delicious and healthful addition to any meal. Embrace the tradition, savor the flavor, and enjoy the myriad benefits of olive oil.