Fat is essential for our diets. They are necessary to produce energy as well as regulating blood pressure heart rate blood clotting and the nervous system. They also maintain a healthy skin and hair protect vital organs keeping the body in isolation and provides a sense of fullness after meals according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic. But there is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy fats. A healthy fat that packs a big nutritional punch is olive oil. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat which can reduce heart disease risk by reducing lipoprotein (LDL or bad”) cholesterol in the blood according to the Mayo Clinic researchers. The Food and Drug Administration reported that consumes about 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day may reduce the risk of heart disease. Extra-virgin and virgin olive oils which are the least processed forms contain high levels of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. With advantages like this it’s a good idea to include more olive oil in a daily diet
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When baking substitute olive oil for butter or margarine. For most recipes olive oil substitute for butter or margarine in a 3 to 4 ratio. For example if the recipe calls for one cup of butter use a three-fourths cup olive oil instead. Although olive oil is widely used for baking it can create moist and airy cakes muffins and brownies.
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Another way to use olive oil when cooking is to fill a spray bottle with it and replace it for nonstick cooking spray. Many cooking sprays contain hydrogenated fats which are known to be toxic and shown to cause a variety of health problems such as diabetes cancer and cardiovascular disease.
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In addition to cooking spray olive oil can be brushed on meat fish and poultry to seal in the juices before grilling or broiling. Also try to brush it up pizza dough before adding the sauce or skip the sauce add toppings and enjoy the rich taste of olive oil.
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Another way to eat more olive oil is to use it in dips and dressings. Olive oil mayonnaise can be made with two egg yolks a pinch of salt and pepper 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 cup of olive oil. Dress salads with olive oil vinaigrette by adding olive oil balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Instead of butter or margarine use olive oil for dipping sauce for bread. If desired season it up by adding garlic basil salt and pepper.
Tips and Warnings
Do not substitute with olive oil if you plan on cooking recipe at 400 degrees C or higher. The olive oil will start smoking at these high temperatures and will make food have a metallic taste.”