Olive oil is a staple in any kitchen. It's the base of many salad dressings and is also used as an ingredient in sauces and marinades; as a dip for bread; and for sautéing, roasting, frying and baking. Extra-virgin olive oil can be used as a condiment when drizzled over a bowl of pasta or platter of roasted vegetables.
- Olive oil is an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that may lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol.
- It contains Vitamin E and antioxidants.
- It's an excellent replacement for unhealthy saturated fats like butter.
Extra-virgin olive oil has the highest concentration of Vitamin E and antioxidants. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on uncooked dishes, where its assertive flavor will complement your finished dishes. Lighter olive oils like those labeled pure, refined or light contain lower concentrations of nutrients but withstand higher temperatures required for cooking.
Although olive oil has great health benefits, it also has a lot of calories. It’s 100 percent fat, and like all liquid oils, contains about 120 calories per tablespoon.