Healthy move to opt for olive oil

New Zealand’s favourite well­be­ing ex­pert an­swers read­ers’ ques­tions about their health.

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Ques­tion: I’ve read con­flict­ing in­for­ma­tion about what oils are good to use in cook­ing. I like to use olive oil, is olive oil OK? Thanks, Mary

Olive oil is a fan­tas­tic edi­tion to your diet – we have all heard about the health ben­e­fits of the tra­di­tional Mediter­ranean diet, still con­sid­ered one of the health­i­est di­ets in the world. Its em­pha­sis on fruit, fish, nuts, legumes, veg­eta­bles and olive oil are thought to pro­vide some of its pro­tec­tive ef­fects.

One of the other im­por­tant com­po­nents of this in­cred­i­bly healthy way of eat­ing is the gen­er­ous lash­ings of fresh olive oil they use, which are best used on sal­ads and for low-tem­per­a­ture cook­ing. The safety of any oil is linked to its smoke point – the tem­per­a­ture at which the struc­ture of the fat al­ters to be harm­ful to hu­man health. Olive oil is be­lieved to have a smoke point of about 180 de­grees.

Con­sum­ing olive oil im­proves some of the risk fac­tors as­so­ci­ated with car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, it helps im­prove your blood-choles­terol pro­file, it also helps re­duce the for­ma­tion of blood clots and, it can as­sist in blood-glu­cose con­trol, im­por­tant in the preven­tion of type 2 diabetes.

Re­searchers are look­ing at the link be­tween olive oil consumption and lower rates of some can­cers. Ques­tion: As Christ­mas ap­proaches I spend a lot more time at work func­tions, which of­ten don’t have very nu­tri­tious op­tions. What are your tips for stay­ing healthy in the fes­tive sea­son? – Court­ney

Drink your greens – with the in­crease in spe­cial oc­ca­sions around Christ­mas time and the of­ten not-so-nour­ish­ing food op­tions, juic­ing or making smooth­ies is a won­der­ful way to amp up your nu­tri­tion when you’re in con­trol. In­cor­po­rate some or­ganic leafy greens for an ex­tra boost and some good fats such as av­o­cado, nuts or seeds and you have an easy but nour­ish­ing snack.

Com­mit to a morn­ing rou­tine – if your days are get­ting more and more jam-packed, start­ing your day with a restora­tive rou­tine can make all the dif­fer­ence to help your mind­set and al­low you to start your day with a feel­ing of spa­cious­ness. It doesn’t change what you need to do, but it can change how you show up – feel­ing ca­pa­ble as op­posed to stressed out. Go for a walk, sit with a cup Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

of tea and watch the sun­rise or sim­ply prac­tice some long, slow breaths that move your belly in and out while you wait for the ket­tle to boil.

Some time to your­self can make all the dif­fer­ence to your en­ergy in what can be a hec­tic time. Be in touch with grat­i­tude. Stay in touch with what a priv­i­lege life is. Re­mem­ber that all of our ba­sic needs are met, when for too many peo­ple in the world, this is still not the case. Be grate­ful that you have peo­ple to cel­e­brate with, money to buy gifts, food to put on the ta­ble. The ner­vous sys­tem can­not fo­cus on two things at once so when we feel grate­ful we can­not be stressed.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for direct, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional.

Con­sum­ing olive oil has a num­ber of health ben­e­fits.

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