Coconut oil gets all the publicity. It's a star of bodybuilding and fitness, probably because coconuts make us think of tropical islands filled with libidinous natives wearing flimsy grass skirts. Plus there's the notion that it won't make you fat. (It will, if used liberally.)
But it's olive oil that's the true star, even though it reminds you of old Momma Moretti who used to force feed you and the neighborhood kids her pasta fazool that sometimes had a little bit of her moustache hair on top as unintentional garnish.
In fact, next to fish oil and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), olive oil is what bodybuilders and fitness people should be sucking up.
5 Reasons to Consume More Olive Oil
- A component of olive oil causes your body to burn more fat. Olive oil contains oleuropein, a phenol that causes white fat cells to act more like brown fat cells. This is good because brown fat cells are cells that contain lots of ravenous mitochondria (little organelles that are the source of all cellular energy) that take in nutrients and release heat.
The more brown fat you have, or the more fat you have that acts like brown fat, the more calories you burn. And a little brown goes a long way. Say for instance you were carrying just 50 extra grams of brown or brown-acting fat. That tiny amount could cause you to burn 300 to 500 extra calories a day.
- Olive oil makes your balls bigger. Okay, bigger balls in itself isn't any great shakes, but heavier testicles indicates greater testosterone production. Olive oil helps the Leydig cells in the testicles to get heavy by absorbing more cholesterol, and the testes use cholesterol to make testosterone. Furthermore, the olive oil increases levels of an enzyme that facilitates the conversion to testosterone. (To be fair, though, coconut oil does the same thing.)
- Olive oil increases insulin sensitivity. Olive oil, through its phenols and polyphenols, reduces muscle insulin resistance (while a low-fat diet is more effective in reducing insulin resistance in the liver). Lowered insulin resistance and, as a result, increased insulin sensitivity, is not only good for your health, but your waistline and your musculature, too. Insulin sensitive muscles are hugely receptive to receiving nutrients, which leads to growth. If muscle cells aren't sensitive to insulin, nutrients get stored as fat.
- Olive oil reduces your chances of getting a whole bunch of medical conditions or diseases. Because of its effects on insulin resistance, the polyphenols it contains, and its antioxidant potential, olive oil has been shown to slow down the aging of the heart, reduce the risk of colon cancer and skin cancer, maintain calcium levels in bones, lower blood pressure, and even fight depression.
- Olive oil can be a valuable tool in dieting. Simply taking a tablespoon of olive oil in-between meals can quell hunger to an amazing degree, while simultaneously conferring all the other health benefits listed above.
Ways to Use Olive Oil
There are plenty of ways to get more olive oil into your diet. You can fry foods with it, add it to stews or soups, or douse your vegetables with it. Alternately, you can just swallow down a tablespoon or two straight.