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Nobody needs olive oil. But it can be good for you...

There have been numerous studies into the benefits (or not) of olive oil. And I do agree with Dr Gil Carvalho [watch], nobody needs olive oil. Adding olive oil to our diets isn’t essential. It is delicious! But some of us shouldn't eat it. At the end of the day, it’s less about the oil and more about you.

Healthy olive oil salad dressing
Extra virgin olive oil, nuts and avocado are healthy fats when following a balanced whole-food diet

Olive oil is a healthy source of fat. And, according to The British Heart Foundation, when used as part of a healthy and balanced diet, olive oil can be good for you.

If you do choose to eat olive oil here are the main health benefits:

1. You could lower your risk of heart disease. Those who follow the Mediterranean diet (which encourages the use of olive oil) are known to have reduced blood pressure levels and improved cholesterol levels.

2. You could lower your risk of a stroke. As a monounsaturated fat, olive oil is associated with the reduced risks of strokes and heart disease.

3. You could experience less rheumatoid arthritis pain. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols which seem to have the same anti-inflammatory effects as ibuprofen.

4. You could reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. Those following the Mediterranean diet, and eating olive oil and nuts, had improved cognitive function.

5. You may lower your risk of type-2 diabetes and some cancers. The polyphenols micronutrients may offer some protection, but further research is needed on this.

Of course, individual circumstances differ. And you should always check with your doctor before making changes to your diet.

I don’t believe restrictive low-fat diets are practical in ordinary every-day life. Nuts, avocados and extra virgin olive oil are healthy fats when following a balanced whole-food diet. And make for delicious healthy eating too!

And with that, I’m off to make an olive oil dressing for our salad ;)

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