Several years ago fat-free diets were all the rage. Times have changed. It is time to bid a not-too-sad adieu to the fat-free diet. Researchers have discovered that our bodies need some fat. There are several reasons for this:
Fatty acids in fats are responsible for cell growth and maintenance. These fatty acids also produce hormones like: Glucagon, associated with low blood glucose, and epinephrine, associated with increased metabolic demands. In both situations, energy is needed, and the oxidation of fatty acids is increased to meet that need.
Fatty acids are also responsible for the transport of water-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K throughout the body.
Fat got a bad reputation because everyone lumped all fats together. In reality, there is nothing wrong with fat—as long as it is healthy fat. What’s that you’re saying? “Healthy fat is an oxymoron?” Well, I thought so too. But it turns out there are healthy fats.
Fat consumption is all about what kinds of fat and how much. Too much fat can result in ingesting too many calories which translates to thickening waistlines. But, if eaten in moderation, fats can actually assist with weight control. Yes, that’s what I said: weight control! How does it work? The monounsaturated fats found in such foods as olive oil replace saturated fats, and encourage weight loss.
Consuming olive oil has been shown to breakdown fats inside fat cells, get rid of belly fat, and reduce insulin insensitivity.
Okay, how about the kinds of fats you choose? Many health issues have been linked to the wrong kinds of fats. Animal fats are saturated fats and should be avoided as much as possible. You can do this by eating fish and lean white meats sparingly and red meats hardly ever. Replacing saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated fats will significantly lower your cholesterol or LDL rate. This, in turn, results in better cardiovascular health and fights or prevent diabetes.
Studies have shown that diets high in monounsaturated fats may help prevent and lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
A safe healthy fat is olive oil. It is a great source of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E which is a great disease fighter.
Olive oil contains plant-based chemicals which have been shown to dilate blood vessels, preventing blood clots and decreasing inflammation.
Some studies have shown olive oil linked to decreasing such cancers as: breast cancer. It has also shown good results in fighting heart disease.
Olive oil works along with your body to use plant chemicals efficiently. These chemicals include lycopene found in tomatoes and thought to be effective in preventing prostate cancer.
New research published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that adding olive oil to your diet may protect bones. Studies found that consumption of olive oil for 2 years resulted in an increase of osteocalcin in the bone. This fights osteoporosis and builds strong bones and teeth.
So how do you use olive oil? First don’t stint on the cost. Extra virgin olive oil is worth the extra expense. It has the highest amount of nutrients. Opt for cold pressed olive oil. It has the best flavor and aroma.
Use olive oil for making stir fry dishes. Create nutritious salad dressings and marinades. Brush vegetables with olive oil before grilling, baking or roasting them. Create a delicious dip for bread using olive oil and spices.
Here are some of my favorite recipes using olive oil.
Olive Oil Recipe for Dipping Bread
1/4 c. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. Parmesan cheese
1 T. crushed dried oregano
Pepper to taste
Pour the olive oil onto a salad plate. Press garlic cloves onto spots on the plate. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the oil and garlic. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and oregano. Season with black pepper to taste.
Green Bean Frittata with Tomato and Onion
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 large tomatoes, chopped and diced
1 medium onion, sliced and diced
1 lbs. green beans, cooked, boiled or steamed
Non-Salt seasoning to taste
In a hot skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil. Sauté tomatoes and onions for five minutes. Lower heat to medium. Beat eggs. Combine in skillet with beans. Cook for five minutes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
8 to 10 lb. turkey, cooked and cut into cubes
Juice of 4 limes
1 ½ c. orange juice
Large can tomato sauce
2 T. rosemary
1 ½ T. cumin
2 T. oregano
Seasonings to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large Spanish onions, cut into ¼” slices
4 large carrots, cubed
2 large potatoes, cubed
At least four hours before (I do it the night before) combine turkey and rest of ingredients except onions in a roast pan. Toss with extra virgin olive oil. Before cooking add onions. Bake at 375 degrees covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and broil until lightly browned.
Carrot and Cashew Soup
1 pound (about 6 to 8) carrots, cut into ½ inch rounds
2 medium yellow or white onions, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 garlic cloves, quartered
4 cups vegetable broth or water
½ cup cashews
Seasonings to taste.
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley with stems, coarsely chopped (about ½ cup)
1 clove garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
In a medium pot, combine the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and cover with the broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 35. Add the cashews and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Puree soup in blender until smooth. Pour into individual bowls and drizzle.
Cranberry Walnut Bundt Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped
4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously coat a Bundt pan with olive oil.
Combine dry ingredients.
Beat the eggs until light and airy. Add sugar while continuing to beat. Add the olive oil and vanilla extract and beat another 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and sour cream to the batter. Gently fold in the nuts and cranberries. Bake at 350°F for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of Bundt pan comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Invert pan onto rack to remove. Cool completely.