Olive Oil Is All You'll Ever Need
Recently, I've shared two different stories that emphasize the healthful properties of extra virgin olive oil. It reacts with chemicals in vegetables to create a natural blood vessel relaxer, reducing the risk of heart disease, for one thing. And it contains a form of vitamin E that has been proven to be good for your lungs. In contrast, common edible oils like corn or canola feature a form of vitamin E that may actually harm lung function.
So today, I thought I'd focus again on this wonder food.
Many of us avoid frying foods. Doesn't matter the kind of oil used, we just believe frying food is a bad way to prepare it. Frying adds excess calories, right? And it could even create high-temperature compounds, like acrylamides, which could be harmful. Right? Well, maybe. But maybe not if you fry with olive oil.
That's right. According to a large study published in the British Medical Journal, more than 40,000 adult Spaniards were followed for more than a decade to assess the link between eating fried foods and the risk of coronary heart disease. Eating fried foods is believed to increase the risk of heart disease.
But Spaniards fry in olive oil or sunflower oil (the two types of oil that promote lung health, identified in my report earlier this week). And they experienced absolutely no increased risk of coronary heart disease, despite eating oil-fried foods with abandon. Frying in olive or sunflower oil was not linked to any increases in the risk of death, from any cause.
In any event, if you decide to jump back into the frying pan, so to speak, keep in mind that oil should not be reused after frying. Most experts agree that using frying oil repeatedly can cause trans fatty acids to accumulate. And those are definitely unhealthful. They're also the reason you should avoid packaged baked goods, and convenience items like prepared cake frosting. Although many food manufacturers have voluntarily eliminated trans fats from their products, because of their effects on heart disease risk, the aforementioned foods still contain these artery-damaging fats.
Guallar-Castillón P1, Rodríguez-Artalejo F, et al. Consumption of fried foods and risk of coronary heart disease: Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study.BMJ. 2012 Jan 23;344:e363. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e363.