Did you know that EVOO is anti-inflammatory?
The nutritionist Verónica Sobrino explains to us what are the real benefits of EVOO
In recent years, food has changed a lot and sometimes we forget the importance of natural foods. From Verde Esmeralda Olive, we have spoken with the nutritionist Verónica Sobrino to explain why EVOO is one of the protagonists in anti-inflammatory diets, and what other benefits it has. Verónica is specialized in anti-inflammatory nutrition, nutritional education and psychoneuroimmunology.
How important is extra virgin olive oil in nutrition?
EVOO is a fat, so as a macronutrient it is important that it is part of our diet so that it is a healthy and balanced diet, like the rest of the macronutrients that are proteins and carbohydrates. It is a very good source of energy and taking into account the Mediterranean diet, it is the most important fat in our diet. With an anti-inflammatory approach, it is the fat I recommend the most. It is essential that EVOO is present in a balanced nutrition.
What are the benefits of healthy fats in our body?
Fats are essential nutrients, essential for good hormonal function and for the absorption of nutrients. EVOO is one of the most important fats because it is a monounsaturated fat, and we need it for our cells to function properly. If we want optimal hormonal production and we want there to be a balance of blood sugar at each meal, we must introduce this fat.
Is EVOO the Healthiest Vegetable Fat?
Yes, without a doubt, it is the healthiest. I consider EVOO a super food, it is also rich in polyphenols and antioxidants. We consider it as “liquid gold” and it is true that we have known its benefits for centuries. I highlight this fat for the large amount of polyphenols, since it has a very important anti-inflammatory effect. Among its benefits, I highlight the phytochemical polyphenol Hydroxytyrosol, which only olive oil has. This phytochemical has enzymes that help resolve inflammatory processes. So apart from being important for cardiovascular health, it helps to reduce free radicals.
What are polyphenols?
Polyphenols have a lot of properties, they are phytochemicals that exist in plants such as red fruits, and they have an anti-inflammatory effect, that is why EVOO has that effect. They also help us against free radicals and serve as food for our intestinal bacteria. So among all its benefits, the anti-inflammatory effect is very important since inflammation problems are on the rise.
Does the quality of the oil influence our body?
Yes, a refined oil is not the same as an EVOO. It influences the quality and type of olive, the extraction process that is carried out, whether it is a mechanical process or if it is cold pressed … The purer the extra virgin olive oil, the more compounds and more polyphenols it has. The color is also an indication of the quality of the EVOO, since if the color is very light it is probably a refined oil, which we have to avoid at all costs and if it is darker, it means that it has more polyphenols.
Another way to know if it is a quality oil is to put a little oil on the tip of the tongue, it has to taste a little like butter, and as you taste it, the bitterness and characteristic itch increases, that means that it is a good oil.
How does EVOO influence our skin?
It can influence in two ways, topically, for cosmetics, to hydrate the skin and as a food. Due to the amount of polyphenols, antioxidants and vitamin B it has, it is very important in the texture of the skin, its elasticity, and especially for aging and free radicals. So EVOO is beneficial in both cases.
Does EVOO have direct benefits on the digestive system?
Yes, it has positive effects due to the polyphenols that we have discussed, since they are good for our intestinal bacteria. Also, they regulate the microbiota in a positive way, helping intestinal transit and improving the absorption of nutrients. If a diet is lacking in fat, there are many vitamins that our body cannot absorb at the intestinal level. It also acts as a choleretic, so it stimulates us to secrete bile and that helps digestion, a good intestinal transit. Also, it has a protective effect on the liver and is positive for gastritis and heartburn.
Also, when we consume fat, our intestines release the CCK hormone. This indicates to your brain that you are satiated, so it satiates you and nourishes you at the same time. If there is no fat in the diet, we will not feel satiated and we will constantly be hungry, which is why many diets fail, because there are no fats.
Is it convenient to eat healthy fats daily?
Yes, in a balanced way and always in the context of each person. EVOO is a very good quality fat and it is necessary. If we eat a balanced meal with the 3 macronutrients, it is not the same as just eating carbohydrates. Therefore, taking extra virgin olive oil every day is good and beneficial. If you have a specific objective, we can count the oil, but it is true that a splash in the salad, some vegetables to dress, a few drops on the grill or even 2 tablespoons per meal, is not a problem.
Many people are “afraid” of oil because it is very caloric. Is its caloric intake offset by its nutritional intake?
Yes, it is true that fat is the most caloric macronutrient because it has 9g of calories compared to proteins and carbohydrates that have 4g. For many years we have been told that fats are the cause of cardiovascular diseases or that we gain weight, however, if this were the problem, today there would be neither Type 2 Diabetes nor obesity, and if it did exist, there would be no such high figures. This shows that calories are not the problem. I emphasize that it depends on how your body responds hormonally, how those foods impact your hormones. It is more important that the food is nutritious and of quality, since our body understands nutrients and not calories. Although it is a caloric macro nutrient, it is of quality, so we will have to look for a quality fat, not just any type of fat.
Any advice to those people who are afraid of EVOO because it is a fat?
We must stop counting calories and start counting nutrients, in the end our body always gives priority to those foods it knows. We have been counting calories for decades and the problem of obesity continues to exist. We have to include fat in every meal to be satiated, and when you want to lose fat, you have to eat fat. Always personalizing each person a lot, since each one will need an amount for their height, their physical activity, their fat percentage, their level of inflammation … If you want to change habits and want to acquire a healthy lifestyle that will last you a lifetime, includes fat. People have in mind that you have to go hungry. To avoid cravings, to be satiated, to avoid a bad mood, to avoid hormonal imbalances … you have to eat fat .. If you follow a low-fat diet, you will be hungrier, cravings … Always choose quality oil, it is not the same a refined soybean, corn, sunflower oil than a quality extra virgin olive oil.