It’s customary in the Mediterranean to begin the day by drinking a small glass of olive oil. Arguably the healthiest cooking oil, olive oil is packed full of beneficial nutrients. Should you start drinking it too? Here’s a beginner’s guide to drinking olive oil.
What Is Olive Oil?
Olive oil, a popular, essential cooking oil used in Meditteranean dishes and dressings, is the liquid fat crushed out of olives.
There are several different types of olive oils, including virgin olive oils such as extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, lampante virgin olive oil, refined olive oils or refined pomace olive oil, and blended olive oils like generic olive oil or pomace olive oil. The taste and nutrients of olive oil depend on its purity and official classification.
Should You Drink Olive Oil?
Those in the Mediterranean region swear by drinking 1/4 cup of olive oil every morning. While there have been no clinical studies evaluating the impact of drinking olive oil, research shows ingesting olive oil has health benefits, with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
While these health benefits depend on the brand and purity of the olive oil, extra virgin olive oils with a high concentration of polyphenols, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats are the most nutritious.
The Benefits of Drinking Olive Oil
While there is little to no clinical evidence that drinking olive oil is beneficial, research shows several benefits from ingesting it. Helping the cardiovascular and digestive systems by lowering bad cholesterol, lessening the risk of heart disease, and regulating the digestive system through boosting nutrient absorption, these benefits seem endless.
Olive oil also obtains the antioxidant oleocanthal, which reduces inflammation on a cellular level, promoting higher cellular functioning and health. Full of Vitamin K and E, it may even fight free radicals while nourishing skin and hair. Since drinking olive oil is just another method of ingesting it, many believe it still provides these proven benefits.
How Much Olive Oil Should You Drink?
Generally, drinking between 1 and 3 teaspoons a day is ideal. However, the amount of olive oil you should drink depends on its phenolic content. Drinking extra virgin olive oil is recommended because it is the healthiest olive oil with the highest phenolic content. Moreover, you want to start small as drinking too much may cause digestive disruption and weight gain from olive oil’s high caloric density.
The Best Time to Drink Olive Oil
In the Meditteranean region, it is common to drink olive oil first thing in the morning and kickstart digestion. Others suggest drinking it at night to enhance its anti-inflammatory properties. Regardless, the best time for you to drink olive oil depends on your personal preference.
Cautions and Concerns
While olive oil is immensely beneficial, there are some cautions to take before drinking it. Although rare, some people experience an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis, so those looking to consume olive oil should begin to test their reactions gradually. Additionally, olive oil can negatively interact with certain medications or cause nausea. Never drink olive oil in excess as it may cause weight gain and displace other healthy fatty foods.