Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Disadvantages of Olive Oil by Laura Ng

All along you've heard way too many health benefits of olive oil. But did you know that this liquid gold can also impair your health in its most original form? Also, when handled improperly, your risk for cancer and other degenerative diseases will increase. Here I show you the disadvantages of olive oil - what turns it from beneficial to health-damaging, and how you can eat it to gain health benefits without suffering from its harmful effect. Are you ready? Here we go.

Disadvantage #1 - Olive Oil Hampers Blood Circulation

All saturated and unsaturated fatty acids (except for omega-3 fatty acid in flaxseed and medium-chain fatty acid in coconut oil) may increase blood stickiness due to clumping of platelets, which in turn causes blood clotting that may upset the normal blood flow.

Olive oil carries about 77% of oleic fatty acid, which belongs to monounsaturated fat that promotes blood clotting.

But fortunate enough, the oil contains some good guys too to balance the act - anti-inflammatory compounds such as hydroxytyrosol, oleocanthal and omega-3 to counteract blood clotting, thereby reducing the risk posed by oleic fatty acid. That only applies to extra-virgin olive oil. Other lower-graded oils may have these healthful inflammatory compounds removed partially or fully depending on the harvesting and refining process.

More expensive to buy extra-virgin olive oil no doubt, but well worth the money spent if you want good health. You get what you pay for.

Disadvantage #2 - Olive Oil Reacts with Free Radicals

Because of its predominant monounsaturated fat structure (containing the unstable C=C component - double bond between 2 carbon atoms which breaks easily upon heated), olive oil can readily react with free radicals and other chemicals (oxidation) to form hydrogenated oil, and may even produce trans fatty acid during the chemical reaction.

That said, you should never use olive oil (particularly extra-virgin olive oil) in cooking, stir-frying, sauteing, or any other form of heating since it's so sensitive to heat.

Forget about those so-called "experts" who told you that you can apply minimal heat on extra-virgin olive oil. If that's the case, then why bother to keep it away from heat? Why it's best to hold the oil in a tinted container to keep out light? Keep a clear mind and apply some common sense, and you'll see the truth.

Verdict: Eat olive oil in its raw, natural form and you'll reap its full benefits without risking your health. But if you want to cook your food, use coconut oil or palm oil instead which bear stable fatty acid structure that won't break down so easily upon heated.

Disadvantage #3 - Olive Oil Makes You Fat

After all, it's still a fat and carries 9 calories per gram. So, if you overeat the oil, your body fat level will rise. I suggest that when you're starting out with olive oil, add one tablespoonful to your food. Then gradually increases to 1.5, to 2 tablespoonfuls daily. Moderation is the key to effective weight loss with olive oil.

Tip: Though some brands use non-reactive plastic container to hold olive oil, I advise that you go with those that use tinted glass container. Again, you pay more, but you gain more in terms of health, in return.