12 Benefits and Uses of Cold Pressed Olive Oil
The highest grades of olive oil — extra virgin and virgin — are always cold pressed.
Here are 13 benefits and uses of cold pressed olive oil.
1. High in Nutrients
As it's virtually all fat, cold pressed olive oil is high in calories.
Compared with diets high in saturated fat, those high in unsaturated fat are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.
Olive oil also boasts vitamins E and K. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant involved in immune function, while vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting and bone health.
Just 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of cold pressed olive oil supplies:
- Calories: 119
- Total fat: 13.5 grams
- Saturated fat: 2 grams
- Monounsaturated fat: 10 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5 grams
- Vitamin E: 12.9% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin K: 6.8% of the DV
Cold pressed olive oil also contains at least 30 beneficial plant compounds, many of which are potent antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects.
Cold pressed olive oil is rich in healthy fats, dozens of powerful plant compounds, and vitamins E and K.
2. Packed With Healthy Fats
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that you consume 20–35% of your calories from fat, mainly the unsaturated type.
Cold pressed olive oil comprises nearly all fat, with 71% coming from an unsaturated fat called oleic acid.
Studies suggest that oleic acid and other unsaturated fats may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol when used in place of saturated fats.
An additional 11% of the fat in cold pressed olive oil comes from omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These two unsaturated fats are involved in major bodily processes, such as blood pressure regulation, blood clotting, and immune system response.
Although olive oil contains 2 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon (15 ml), this is well within the 13–22-gram daily limit recommended by most health authorities for a standard 2,000-calorie diet.
Cold pressed olive oil mainly comprises oleic acid, a fat that may help lower cholesterol. It also provides omega-6 and omega-3 fats, which are essential for your health.
3. Contains Potent Antioxidants
Cold pressed olive oil may retain more antioxidants than lower-grade olive oils since it isn't treated with heat.
Per tablespoon (15 ml), olive oil contains 12.9% of the DV for vitamin E — an essential nutrient and potent antioxidant.
It's also rich in plant compounds like oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, which have demonstrated powerful antioxidant properties in animal and test-tube studies.
Researchers believe that these compounds may be partly responsible for the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, including stronger bones and a reduced risk of heart disease, brain conditions, and certain cancers.
Cold pressed olive oil contains powerful antioxidants that may safeguard your body against numerous diseases.
4. May Fight Inflammation
Prolonged, low-grade inflammation is believed to factor into many conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease.
Studies suggest that olive oil may help reduce inflammation due to its high concentration of healthy fats, antioxidants, and compounds like oleocanthal.
Oleocanthal is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Test-tube studies indicate that it acts similarly to ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug — although human studies are needed.
Remember that including more plant-based options in your diet may reduce inflammation more effectively than relying on a single compound, nutrient, or food.
Still, replacing foods high in saturated fat — such as butter, shortening, and lard — with cold pressed olive oil is an excellent place to start.
Due to its high concentration of healthy fats, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds, cold pressed olive oil may help reduce inflammation.
5. May Protect Against Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women worldwide, responsible for over 17 million deaths each year.
Numerous studies reveal that replacing foods high in saturated fat with olive oil may help reduce high LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure levels — two major risk factors for heart disease.
One study in over 84,000 women found that substituting 5% of saturated fats for foods high in monounsaturated fats, including olive oil, reduced heart disease risk by 15%.
The Mediterranean diet, which relies on olive oil as its main source of fat, has been shown to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 28%.
Replacing sources of saturated fat with cold pressed olive oil may reduce your risk of heart disease.
6. May Promote Brain Health
One example is the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, which recommends primarily cooking with olive oil. It combines the traditional Mediterranean diet with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
In population studies, individuals following the MIND diet demonstrate slower declines in mental sharpness and memory with age, as well as after stroke.
A 4.5-year study in 923 people found a 53% reduction in the rate of Alzheimer's disease in those who most strictly adhered to the diet.
The diet's combination of brain-boosting foods may likewise be responsible for its benefits. Besides olive oil, the MIND diet is high in vegetables, berries, nuts, whole grains, and fish. It's also low in sodium.
Furthermore, animal and test-tube research suggests that oleocanthal, a compound in olive oil, may help reduce brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease. All the same, human research is needed.
Diets high in olive oil may help prevent mental decline associated with aging, as well as reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease.
7–10. Other Potential Health Benefits
Though research is limited, cold pressed olive oil may offer other potential health benefits. These include:
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Human studies link diets highest in olive oil — up to 1.5 tablespoons (20 ml) per day — with a 16% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Improved blood sugar levels. In a small study, people taking 20 mg of concentrated oleuropein, a compound in olive oil, experienced a 14% lower blood sugar spike following a meal than those taking a placebo.
- Constipation relief. According to some small studies, taking as little as 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of olive oil daily may treat constipation.
- Delayed progression of osteoarthritis. Animal research notes that olive oil and its compounds may fight osteoarthritis by preventing damage to cartilage, the protective cushioning in joints.
Keep in mind that more research is needed.
Early research suggests that olive oil and its compounds may help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, improve blood sugar levels, relieve constipation, and fight osteoarthritis.
11. May Benefit Hair, Skin, and Nails
Though there is limited scientific evidence to support the topical application of olive oil, it's a common ingredient in many soaps, body washes, and lotions.
Some popular cosmetic uses for olive oil are:
- Hair treatment. Use 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of olive oil to treat split ends or gently massage it into your scalp to relieve dryness. Afterward, shampoo and rinse thoroughly.
- Moisturizer. To hydrate your skin, apply a thin layer after showering or mix a dime-sized amount into your regular lotion before use. You may need to blot excess oil with a towel.
- Cuticle conditioner. Massage a drop of olive oil into each fingertip to treat chapped, cracked, or dry cuticles.
Since lower-grade olive oils may harbor potential skin irritants, it's best to stick to extra virgin and virgin olive oils, which are both cold pressed.
Though olive oil may be an effective moisturizer for hair, skin, and nails, there's little scientific evidence to back these uses. What's more, it may be inappropriate for people with sensitive skin.
12. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Cold pressed olive oil is not only a great cooking oil for sautéing, roasting, and baking but also an ideal ingredient in salad dressings, sauces, and marinades.
Replacing saturated fat with this oil may be particularly beneficial for your health. Consider these easy food swaps:
- When cooking, replace butter, shortening, lard, or bacon grease with cold pressed olive oil.
- Instead of buying creamy salad dressings, try ones made with olive oil — or make your own.
- Opt for olive-oil-based sauces like pesto over cream- or cheese-based ones.
- For a vegetable dip, try hummus made with olive oil instead of blue cheese or ranch dressing.
- Instead of buttering your bread, dip it in cold pressed olive oil and seasonings.
Cold pressed olive oil also works for deep frying, but you should limit your use of this cooking method because of the excess calories it provides.
Furthermore, olive oil is still calorie-dense. If you monitor your calorie intake, be sure to use this fat within your daily allotment to avoid unwanted weight gain.
Cold pressed olive oil is a heart-healthy fat for daily cooking and works especially well in dressings, sauces, and dips.
The Bottom Line
Cold pressed olive oil may retain more nutrients than olive oils treated with heat.
It's loaded with healthy fats, vitamins E and K, and several antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These nutrients may promote brain and heart health, in addition to other benefits.
You may stand to gain the most if you use cold pressed olive oil in place of other fats, such as lard, butter, or margarine.
By Karen L. Smith-Janssen
Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.
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'These Aren't Wildfires'<p>Sam Ricketts, who led climate policy and strategy for Governor Jay Inslee's 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted on September 11 that "These aren't wildfires. These are #climatefires, driven by fossil fuel pollution."</p><p>"The rate and the strength and the devastation wrought by these disasters are fueled by climate change," Ricketts told DW of fires that have burnt well over 5 million acres across California, Oregon, Washington State, and into neighboring Idaho. </p><p>In a two-day period in early September, Ricketts notes that more of Washington State burned than in almost any entire fire season until now, apart from 2015. </p><p>California, meanwhile, was a tinderbox after its hottest summer on record, with temperatures in Death Valley reaching nearly 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. It has been reported as the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth.</p>
<div id="29ad9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8346fe7350e1371d400097cd48bf45a2"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1306969603180879872" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Drought-parched wetlands in South America have been burning for weeks. https://t.co/pjAKdFcKPg #Pantanal https://t.co/ImN2C5vwcp</div> — NASA Earth (@NASA Earth)<a href="https://twitter.com/NASAEarth/statuses/1306969603180879872">1600440810.0</a></blockquote></div><p>As evidenced by Australia's apocalyptic Black Summer of 2019-2020, fires are burning bigger and for longer, with new records set year-on-year. Right now, Brazil's vast and highly biodiverse Pantanal wetlands are suffering from catastrophic fires.</p>
#climatefires Started in Australia<p>Governor Inslee this month invoked the phrase climate fires for arguably the first time in the U.S., according to Ricketts.</p><p>But the term was also used as fires burnt out of control in Australia in late 2019. In the face of a 2000km (more than 1,200 miles) fire front, and government officials and media who <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/trump-climate-change-denial-emissions-environment-germany-fake-heartland-seibt/a-52688933" target="_blank">played down the link to climate change</a>, Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and a friend decided that reference to bushfires was inadequate. </p><p>"We both just said, we've got to start calling them climate fires, that's what they are," the Australian Senator told DW.</p><p>Hanson-Young says scientists have been warning for decades that these would be the effects of global heating. "We've been told these kinds of extreme weather events and destruction is what climate change would look like, and it's right here on our doorstep," she said from her home state of South Australia — where by early September fire warnings had already been issued.</p><p>"Calling them climate fires was making it absolutely crystal clear. It is essential that there's no ambiguity," she said </p><p>Having deliberately invoked the term, Hanson-Young soon started to push it on social media via a #climatefires hashtag. </p>
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Climate Rhetoric Could Help Decide Election<p>The language of climate has begun to influence the U.S. presidential election campaign, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden labelling President Trump a "climate arsonist."</p><p>Biden is touting a robust climate plan that includes a 2050 zero emissions target and a return to the Paris Agreement. Though lacking the ambition of The New Green Deal, it has been front and center of his policy platform in recent days, at a time when five hurricanes are battering the U.S. Gulf Coast while smoke blanketing the West Coast spreads all the way to the East. </p><p>People are experiencing the climate crisis in a visceral way and almost universally relate to the language of an emergency, says Ricketts. "They know something is wrong."</p>
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