How This Helps

A common question amongst people is about how many calories in olive oil are there. As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one tablespoon, or around 15g, of olive oil has 119 calories. While olive oil calories are 119, it also contains 14 grams of fat. Olive oil fat is known for being healthy, thus making this a high-calorie food that is good for the heart.[3] 

Olive oil may be among the healthiest foods you can have for your heart. It helps to reduce blood pressure and fight inflammation, protects LDL particles from oxidation, and could help prevent blood clotting. Modern olive oil is produced by first crushing olives and then separating the oil from the pulp. Extra virgin olive oil is the 100% natural variety that is high in antioxidants. The oil's major antioxidants include the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal, in addition to oleuropein, a chemical that protects LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation. This might be the principal reason for olive oil's health benefits. Dietary fats are highly controversial, with disagreements about animal fats, seed oils, and everything in between in full force. Most people today concur that extra virgin olive oil is remarkably healthy. It has been a dietary staple for some of the world's healthiest populations. Studies indicate that the fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil may provide many health benefits.

Despite all the olive oil benefits, is olive oil good for you? Read on to find out more about olive oil nutrition and is olive oil healthy or not.

What is extra virgin olive oil?

Olive oil is the oil that's been extracted from olives, the fruits of the olive tree. The production process is remarkably easy. Olives are first crushed, and then the oil is separated from the pulp in a centrifuge. After centrifugation, small quantities of oil remain in the pomace. The leftover oil could be extracted using chemical solvents and is called olive pomace oil. Purchasing the proper kind of olive oil is vital.

There are three types of olive oil - virgin, extra virgin, and refined. Extra virgin olive oil is the least refined type with the maximum benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is thought of as the healthiest type of olive oil. It is extracted using natural techniques and standardized for purity and particular sensory qualities like flavor and odor. Olive oil that's really extra virgin has a different taste and is high in phenolic antioxidants, that is the main reason it's so valuable. Legally, vegetable oils that are tagged as olive oil can't be diluted with other kinds of oils. Nevertheless, it's important to inspect the label carefully and buy from a reliable seller.

See: Ayurveda for heart health

Extra virgin olive oil nutrition & calories

Extra virgin olive oil nutrition & calories

Here is the olive oil nutrition profile as provided by the USDA:

·        Total calories: 119

·        Fat: 14 grams

·        Carbohydrates: 0 grams

·        Protein: 0 grams

·        Fiber: 0 grams

·        Sugars: 0 grams

·        Sodium: 0.3 mg

Extra virgin olive oil is commonly known as one of the healthiest fats around, but you still should control how much olive oil per day you are using. It should be used in moderate amounts in cooking and salad dressings since it is a high-calorie food.[4]

See: Heart healthy diet plan to prevent heart disease

Extra virgin olive oil health benefits

Olive Oil Health Benefits

There are many health benefits of olive oil.

- Olive oil is a powerful source of vitamin E, which is necessary for supporting the normal nerve conduction and also has an essential role to play in the functioning of the immune system.[5, 6] At the same time, olive oil is rich in vitamin K, which is required by the body to ensure proper blood clotting.[7] Vitamin K is also needed for many other vital functions within the body, many of which are still being discovered.[8]

These olive oil health benefits are partly due to the fact that it is rich in monounsaturated fats, which is a type of healthy fat that is known to reduce the levels of LDL (harmful) cholesterol, while also boosting the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.[9]

Many studies have also found that adding extra virgin olive oil to your daily diet can lower inflammation in the body by decreasing the levels of C-reactive protein.[10]

But how much olive per day should you be adding to your diet? Adding only one to two tablespoons of olive oil per day is sufficient to reap the benefits of this oil.

See: How long does it take to reduce cholesterol

Is olive oil good for you?

What are the concerns over olive oil?

With so many olive oil health benefits, why is it that there are many people who are concerned about using olive oil? Is olive oil bad for you? The fact is that there's nothing wrong with olive oil, but people are worried about cooking with olive oil. This is because many fats and oils, when exposed to very high heat, tend to get damaged. This is especially the case of oils such as canola and soybean oil. These oils are rich in polyunsaturated fats, and when they are overheated, they can change into harmful compounds such as aldehydes and lipid peroxides. These toxic compounds are known to cause cancer.[11, 12] So when you are cooking with such types of vegetable oils, they release certain carcinogenic compounds that are associated with lung cancer when inhaled. In fact, even standing in a kitchen while using these oils at high temperatures can increase the risk of cancer.[13, 14]

Keeping this in mind, you should opt for cooking with oils that remain stable even at high heat. One of the olive oil benefits is that it is known to perform well at high temperatures as well and does not form any harmful compounds while cooking. This is because olive oil is primarily made up of heat-resistant monounsaturated fats.[15] So if you ask is olive oil healthy, then yes, olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can have and also cook with.

Another Cause of Worry: Oxidative Damage of Olive Oil

Another cause of worry that many people have is whether olive oil is affected by oxidative damage. However, the good news is that olive oil is highly resistant to damage as it oxidizes. Typically when oil oxidizes, it starts reacting with oxygen to form various types of toxic substances. This usually happens at room temperature itself and is one of the main reasons why oils go rancid. What is essential to know is that this process gets speeded up as the oil is heated.[16] 

Since olive oil does not get spoilt when heated up, it is also resistant to any type of oxidative damage. This is because of the high antioxidant content of olive oil, as well as the low level of polyunsaturated fat in olive oil. One research study even found that extra virgin olive oil holds up particularly well when heated for deep frying and is also equally resistant to oxidation.[17] Another study also found that having a meal that contains heated olive oil leads to an increase in the oxidative markers present in the bloodstream as compared to consuming a meal made with unheated olive oil.[18]

Such findings have shown that regardless of the conditions olive oil is exposed to, it remains very stable and does not form any type of toxic compounds. This is one of the reasons why experts all over the world recommend the consumption of olive oil.

- Why olive oil needs to be taken in limited quantity

Several studies have demonstrated that increasing the calorie density of the diet by increasing the fat content increases the overall amount of calories individuals tend to eat at each meal before they get up from the table, feeling full.

Therefore, consuming a great deal of olive oil (or another fat) can easily result in weight gain and obesity, which leads us directly to poor heart health. That is because weight gain raises insulin resistance in lots of people and leads to many different metabolic changes that promote cardiovascular disease, including high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, in addition to high levels of markers linked with chronic inflammation, such as inflammatory cytokines.

Research has proven that diets high in fat and cholesterol promote atherosclerosis. By contrast, research in humans and animals, like the Stanford Coronary Risk Intervention Project, have shown that diets very low in overall fat and cholesterol can't just prevent atherosclerosis but really shrink plaque and reverse atherosclerosis.

See: Olive oil consumption and reduced incidence of hypertension: the SUN study.

Summary

Olive oil is known to be one of the healthiest types of fats, and it even retains its beneficial properties when used for cooking. The only disadvantage of using olive oil is that it may lose some of its flavors if you overheat the oil. Nevertheless, being heat resistant, olive oil does not go rancid or oxidize when heated during cooking. So not only is olive oil one of the best choices for cooking, but its many health benefits also make it great for your overall well-being.

See: Non-HDL Cholesterol

References

1. Uylaşer, V., and Yildiz, G., 2014. The historical development & nutritional importance of olive and olive oil constituted an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 54(8), pp.1092-1101.

2. Schwingshackl, L., and Hoffmann, G., 2014. Monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil & health status: a systematic review & meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lipids in health & disease, 13(1), p.154.

3. 2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2020].

4. Frankel, E.N., 2011. Nutritional & biological properties of extra virgin olive oil. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 59(3), pp.785-792.

5. Ulatowski, L., and Manor, D., 2013. Vitamin E trafficking in neurologic health and disease. Annual review of nutrition, 33, pp.87-103.

6. Rizvi, S., Raza, S.T., Faizal Ahmed, A.A., Abbas, S., and Mahdi, F., 2014. The role of Vitamin E in human health & some diseases. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, 14(2), p.e157.

7. Dowd, P., Ham, S.W., Naganathan, S., and Hershline, R., 1995. The mechanism of action of Vitamin K. Annual review of nutrition, 15(1), pp.419-440.

8. DiNicolantonio, J.J., Bhutani, J., and O'Keefe, J.H., 2015. The health benefits of Vitamin K. Open heart, 2(1), p.e000300.

9. Berrougui, H., Ikhlef, S., and Khalil, A., 2015. Extra virgin olive oil polyphenols promote cholesterol efflux & improve HDL functionality. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015.

10. Gorzynik-Debicka, M., Przychodzen, P., Cappello, F., Kuban-Jankowska, A., Marino Gammazza, A., Knap, N., Wozniak, M., and Gorska-Ponikowska, M., 2018. Potential health benefits of olive oil and plant polyphenols. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(3), p.686.

11. Esterbauer, H., 1993. Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of lipid-oxidation products. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 57(5), pp.779S-786S.

12. Tang, M.S., Wang, H.T., Hu, Y., Chen, W.S., Akao, M., Feng, Z., and Hu, W., 2011. Acrolein induced DNA damage, mutagenicity, and effect on DNA repair. Molecular nutrition & food research, 55(9), pp.1291-1300.

13. Qu, Y.H., Xu, G.X., Zhou, J.Z., Chen, T.D., Zhu, L.F., Shields, P.G., Wang, H.W. and Gao, Y.T., 1992. Genotoxicity of heated cooking oil vapors. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology, 298(2), pp.105-111.

14. LAM, W.K., 2005. Lung cancer in Asian women—the environment and genes. Respirology, 10(4), pp.408-417.

15. Prabhu, H.R., 2000. Lipid peroxidation in culinary oils subjected to thermal stress. Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 15(1), pp.1-5.

16. Kowalski, B., 1991. Thermal-oxidative decomposition of edible oils and fats. DSC studies. Thermochimica Acta, 184(1), pp.49-57.

17. Casal, S., Malheiro, R., Sendas, A., Oliveira, B.P. and Pereira, J.A., 2010. Olive oil stability under deep-frying conditions. Food and chemical toxicology, 48(10), pp.2972-2979.

18. Sutherland, W.H., de Jong, S.A., Walker, R.J., Williams, M.J., Skeaff, C.M., Duncan, A., and Harper, M., 2002. Effect of meals rich in heated olive & safflower oils on oxidation of postprandial serum in healthy men. Atherosclerosis, 160(1), pp.195-203.

See: Ayurvedic herbs for immune system

Get a Consultation
(650) 539-4545
Get more information via email