Are you consuming enough olive oil?

Are you consuming enough olive oil?

A recent study shows that upping your olive oil intake can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. Focusing on heart health is important, and small diet changes can make a huge impact.

Megan Labine, registered dietitian at Aurora Health Center – Kenosha says, “Olive oil and other liquid vegetable oils (corn, canola, soybean, safflower) contain unsaturated fats that help lower bad cholesterol, triglycerides and provide essential fats that the body needs but cannot produce itself. The solid fats and oils like butter, coconut oil, stick margarine or solid shortening are high in saturated fats which will increase risk for cardiovascular disease and raise bad cholesterol.”

One easy swap is switching out these common solid fats like butter or margarine with vegetable oils.

“Since olive oil contains unsaturated fats, when used in place of saturated fats like butter, it can help decrease risk of cardiovascular disease and lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood,” says Labine.

The little things count when it comes to your health. And adding in more olive oil is great, especially paired with an overall balanced diet. Choosing healthy fats most often will have the biggest impact on preventing diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

How much olive oil should you be consuming?

“Fats contain the highest number of calories of the 3 macronutrients, 9 calories per gram. It is important to plan meals with appropriate portions. An appropriate portion of olive oil to use in cooking or food prep would be 1 Tbsp,” says Labine.

Fun ways to incorporate olive oil include:

  • Making it a salad dressing
  • Adding it into a soup
  • Using it to cook on the stove
  • Drizzling it on rolls instead of butter

Labine also emphasizes that there are many other ways to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. For example, avocados, nuts, seeds, salmon and tuna all have great health benefits that could impact your heart health.

Want to learn more about your risk for heart disease? Take a free online quiz to learn more.

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Kathryn Verslype