Choosing Olive Oil
Contrary to old weight loss wisdom, cutting all the fat from your diet is not the best way to get healthy. Instead, you should focus on replacing bad fats with good fats. Bad fats include saturated or trans fats, while unsaturated fats are considered good fats because they can actually improve your health when consumed in moderation.
Olive oil is an excellent choice for a good fat and can be used to replace the saturated and trans fats in butter, partially hydrogenated oils, and other cooking oils. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which can lower your total cholesterol and your “bad” cholesterol levels, helping you avoid heart disease. The Food and Drug administration recommends consuming about 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day. However, olive oil, like all fats, does contain a large number of calories. You’ll get the most benefit from olive oil if you use it to replace your use of saturated fats rather than simply adding more fats to your diet.
While all types of olive oil are good for your heart, virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oils that have become popular recently may provide even more benefit. These are the least processed forms of the oil and have the highest levels of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that also can promote heart health.