Hi guys! Today I am throwing it back with a health and wellness topic post. I haven’t been doing as many of these on the blog, but the other night I Insta-storied taking an olive oil shot before dinner and you guys were SO curious as to why I do that and what the benefits are. I thought it would be fun to explain in full the reasons I started doing it, how often I do it (everyday? every meal?), and the results I have seen from doing this.
There are so many benefits to including olive oil in your diet in general. It is made up of predominately monounsaturated fatty acids, which protect heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol. It is a highly anti-inflammatory food that helps protect from long term diseases, like heart or autoimmune, brought on my chronic inflammation. It is also packed with antioxidants to strengthen your immune system and fight infection and disease. Olive oil also nourishes the skin and prevents wrinkles and premature aging. I notice a HUGE difference when I am not consuming my normal amount of olive oil in the softness and hydration of my skin.
So beyond those benefits, what exactly does taking a tablespoon or two of olive oil before meals do? A few things.
The first thing it does is stimulate digestion. The better we digest our food, the faster we eliminate it, and the less we store as waste. If you have ready my book, you know I strongly believe that waste = weight. I truly feel if you are eating natural, unprocessed foods with pure ingredients that your body can recognize, effectively break down, digest, assimilate, and eliminate, weight will never be an issue for you. Olive oil before a meal is particularly helpful in aiding digestion because it is a fat that is easily broken down and absorbed, and will not slow down digestion or create a big task for the intestines.
Additionally, when olive oil is ingested, it boosts your metabolism because the body kicks into fat burning mode, as olive oil is a pure form of healthy fat. This is also helpful for weight loss because it trains the body to use fat for fuel instead of glucose, which helps burn fat more efficiently. Many people have a hard time losing weight because they aren’t tapping into their fat burning mechanism, while also consuming too many carbohydrates, which gives the body more than enough glucose to burn instead of fat.
Another wonderful thing about taking olive oil before meals is that it prevents overeating and provides some satiation. It takes the edge off hunger and does not spike blood sugar, causing hunger and cravings. It is a great way to eat more mindfully, slowly, and less ravenously at meal times because you have already provided your body with some pure, clean, nourishment before sitting down to a plate of food.
Taking olive oil before eating also slows down the rise of blood sugar after a meal, helping to lower the glycemic index of that meal and regulate insulin production. This is very helpful in preventing diabetes, as well as keeping you fuller longer because your body has fuel to burn for a longer period of time. When your blood sugar spikes too quickly after a meal, you become hungry or tired an hour or two after eating because you are coming down from that high. Olive oil helps prevent these spikes and keeps your blood sugar stabilized for a much longer period of time so you hunger, energy, mood, and weight remain balanced.
Now, I know the biggest question you’re wondering…won’t consuming olive oil everyday make me gain weight? NO! I usually to have a tablespoon or two (roughly – I don’t measure) before 2 meals a day, but if I am eating out I skip it. In addition to that, I use a very generous amount in my cooking, and pour quite a bit over my salads and veggies, and fish when I am in restaurants. I have never noticed the slightest bit of weight gain from consuming large amounts of olive oil. In 2010 there was a study of 44 women over 50 who were overweight. Each woman trialed two 8 week long diets. One was an olive oil based diet with the bulk of the calories in each meal coming from olive oil , and one was a low fat food plan as recommended by the US National Cancer Institute. Both diets were made of 1500 calories a day. After 16 weeks, the women on the olive oil diet lost twice as much weight as they did on the low fat diet, had lower triglycerides, and higher levels of good HDL cholesterol. From an enjoyment standpoint, all of the women except for one favored the olive oil diet.
And there you have it, why I would do such a weird thing as drink olive oil J It is really such a healthy habit to incorporate into your diet and your life. If you aren’t a big breakfast person, a great way to get started consuming more olive oil is to mix it with some water and lemon juice an drink it first thing in the morning. Doing this on an empty stomach is a great way to stoke your metabolism, kick the body into fat burning mode, and keep your blood sugar steady through the morning.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and I would love to hear your thoughts below!