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Love Olive Oil


Posted by Heather J.

We know we need to incorporate a moderate amount of healthy fats into our diet. Nuts, seeds, avocadoes, fish, and certain oils are all great ways to meet these needs. Olive oil is especially beneficial, and our friends at Running Times spell out a few reasons why. “While you are running, your body uses a mix of fats and carbohydrates as fuel. With time, there is a gradual shift toward stimulating the release of energy from intramuscular fats, and these reserves need to be replenished with the foods you eat, just like glycogen. Olive oil gives you the most nutrition for your calories and prepares you for your next workout. Olive oil is in the same family tree as other vegetable oils, but on a much higher branch. Olive oil improves the blood profile by lowering cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and triglycerides when substituted for other fats. Polyunsaturated fats, while touted as being heart healthy, also lower the good high-density lipoproteins (HDL). But the action of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that can make up 80 percent of the fatty acids in olive oil, actually raises the HDL. The plant sterol, sitosterol, adds to the health quotient by blocking the absorption of cholesterol. Olive oil provides polyphenols and vitamin E, both antioxidants. These are important for protecting a runner’s immune system, which is often compromised after marathon-length runs. Olive oil also contains vitamin K, needed for blood clotting. Foods prepared with olive oil are also less likely to cause acid reflux — which runners will appreciate, particularly on race day.

Newly pressed olive oil has a strong peppery flavor that registers in the back of the throat, forcing a cough. (These oils are referred to as "cough oils"). It was this sensation that led to the discovery of oleocanthal, because ibuprofen also causes the stinging sensation in its liquid form. Oleocanthal inhibits the inflammation-inducing enzymes, cyclooxygenase (COX) 1 and 2, the same way as ibuprofen. Inflammation is part of the soreness experienced after certain runs and has been linked to many disorders, including heart disease and cancer. Oleocanthal in olive oil works to reduce post-workout inflammation, without the gastrointestinal risks associated with ibuprofen.Replacing other fats in your pantry with olive oil is a simple step towards better nutrition.”

 
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THanks for information on olive oil. You always hear about how it is good for you, but most articles fail to delineate the many reasons we should eat it. I will admit that I am a terrible cook and I have a pedestrian palate (which means I am a picky eater!). Pasta and vegetables prepared in olive oil have a unique light taste that is simply hard to match. We always hear about how foods that taste great are bad for you-- olive oil is a wonderful exception to that rule.
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