Once in a while there will be a food that will pop up on this blog that’s good for everyone including us who are on the journey towards muscle mass and fat loss.   And here’s the one that has done just that today: olive oil.  The famous oil of the Mediterranean and heart healthy diets, olive oil can actually help us to build muscle, believe it or not. 

The monounsaturated fat or MUFA in olive oil may act as an anti-catabolic nutrient, which means it prevents muscle breakdown by lowering levels of the cellular protein called tumor necrosis factor-a, which is related to muscle wasting and weakness.  All olive oil is high in MUFAs, but extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) has ahigher level of free-radical-fighting vitamin E too, which we all need a little extra of.

We already know that olive oil and monounsaturated fats have been associated with everything from lower rates of heart disease and colon cancer to a reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis and olive oil actually boasts some other more classic nutrients as well, such as vitamins E, K, and A as well as polyphenols, squalene, oleocanthol, triterpenes. 

Oleic Acid or omega 9 makes up 55 – 85 % of the fatty acids in olive oil and it’s great for your skin too.  It helps keep arteries supple and helps prevent colon cancer as well: maybe as much as fruits and veggies, according University of Oxford researchers. 

Studies also indicate that extra virgin olive oil may help to lower blood pressure and olive oil promotes the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones naturally, and lowers the incidence of gallstones.

So what are some ways you can up your intake of EVOO?  Serve a small condiment dish with extra virgin olive oil for use on bread, potatoes or other vegetables instead of butter and try adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar or a sprinkling of your favorite spices to the olive oil for a great flavor.  Be sure to buy and store oil in opaque containers and add olive oil to foods immediately after cooking.

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