The antioxidant-rich olive oil is known for its beneficial qualities for our health. And these antioxidants help reduce the risk of death, slow cardiovascular diseases, and cancer diseases, according to a study issued by the international journal of molecular sciences.
An increase in the consumption of virgin olive oil, particularly for people with low olive oil intake, provides various health benefits. But you also need to be careful with the calories that come when cooking with olive oil. So, how to count your calories when cooking with olive oil? And what are the foods that you can cook with olive oil?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about cooking with olive oil, including all its health benefits and how to use olive oil for cooking. You might also enjoy reading: Myplate Vs. MyfitnessPal: Which Is Better?
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Olive Oil and Its Nutritional Value
Olive oil is a moderately good source of vitamin E. One tablespoon of olive oil offers about 1.94 milligrams of vitamin E, which is about 13 percent of the suggested dietary allowance of 15 milligrams per day for adults.
Extra virgin olive oil is made from the olives’ first pressing, providing numerous bioactive substances, such as powerful antioxidants and vitamin E. In fact, extra-virgin olive oil is squeezed mechanically from ripe olives and refined without high heat or chemical solvents, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Because olive oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, it is one of the healthier options for fats. It contains primarily healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamins K and E.
It is mainly composed of monounsaturated fats that are heat resistant. And they do not produce harmful cancer-causing compounds on high heat.
Composition of Olive Oil
There are two kinds of fats present in oils: saturated and unsaturated. It is recommended to use unsaturated fats for cooking because of their structure. This is why extra virgin olive oil is thought to be a healthy oil to use during cooking.
Olive oil includes:
- 73% monounsaturated fatty acids
- 11% polyunsaturated fatty acids
- 14% saturated fatty acids
- Vitamin E in olive oil provides various amazing health benefits, according to research.
- Olive oil contains up to 87% of heat-resistant monounsaturated and saturated fats.
Even though olive oil is considered healthy, try to limit your total fat intake to 30 percent of your daily calories. Due to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil is not a great option for deep frying. It is because it can heat up more quickly than other oils like canola and burn. So, if you are looking an oil for deep frying, canola oil is a great alternative.
How To Count Your Calories When Cooking With Olive Oil?
Tracking what you consume can help you log and understand how many calories are in your diet. Studies have revealed that people who tracked their foods lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. The main reason is that most people overlook certain foods and underestimate their portion sizes.
Here’s how to count your calories when cooking with olive oil.
1- Use Measuring Cooking Tools
Utensils, including measuring cups and spoons, can help you count your calories when cooking with olive oil. When cooking at home, always remember to track the quantity of olive oil you have added and log it. You might be surprised by how many calories you consume.
Most people underestimate (or overestimate) the amount of cooking oil they are using, severely impacting their perceived total calorie intake.
One tablespoon of olive oil includes 119 calories; three tablespoons contain 357 calories, equivalent to a full meal for some people.
2- Log Every Calorie You Eat
Logging every calorie you eat will give the closest estimate of your daily, weekly, or yearly calorie and nutrient intake.
One of the best ways is to plan your meals in advance and log your olive oil intake before eating. Use MyfitnessPal or Myplate to help you easily log and track your food consumption.
3- Use Spray Oil to Count Calories When Cooking With Olive Oil
Using spray cans will help you be more conservative with how much olive oil you use. Just coat the bottom of your cooking pan with a bit of water and sauté as you usually would.
In addition, if you use a spray oil, you can weigh the spray can before and then after you finish cooking to get an idea of exactly how much oil you used to cook. There is no need to avoid olive oil altogether, and to help use less olive oil; you can use a spray.
Does Cooking With Olive Oil Count As Calories?
As a rule of thumb, if you pour olive oil into a frying pan or directly into your food, you should measure it and count the calories. And if you use a spray to keep food from sticking to a surface, you don’t need to count the calories. Oil is very high in calories, which add up quickly; therefore, ensure you count them whenever you can.
It is untruth to think that olive oil does not have any calories because, like all other oils, it has a certain amount of calories as well. Nearly 119 calories are present in only one tablespoon of olive oil. Moreover, 87 percent of olive oil is composed of heat-resistant monounsaturated and saturated fats.
It means that a tablespoon of olive will add around 120 extra calories to your meal. Even though this value is relatively low compared to other unhealthy and saturated oils, its calories still count.
How Do You Track Olive Oil When Cooking?
- There are several ways to count your calories when cooking accurately.
- If you are cooking for one, measure olive oil by a small kitchen scale before cooking and record it in your tracking apps like MyfitnessPal or Myplate.
- If you are cooking for more than one or cooking a large quantity of food, measure olive oil by a small kitchen scale plus additional ingredients before cooking and record it in your tracking app as a recipe.
- Using minimum amounts of olive oil is recommended: Since olive oil is high in calories, especially for people trying to lose weight, you must use it with care. Putting more than the required amount can increase the calorie content of your meal. Therefore, using minimum amounts of olive oil is recommended.
For example: If you are cooking an omelet using olive oil, you should not put more than one teaspoon. Because only a small amount can cook the egg. So, the amount of oil depends on what you are cooking.
- Use the proper type of olive oil: Ensure you are familiar with the different grades of olive oil before using it in cooking. Extra virgin olive oil has the highest nutritional value. It is followed by virgin oil and, ultimately, refined oil. These classes are distinguished by the methods of extraction used, as well as the subsequent usage of chemical solvents and processing.
- Harvard experts believe that extra virgin olive oil is the best one for everyday cooking. This kind of olive oil has a faint peppery flavor and a subtle golden-green color. Because it is extracted directly from the fruit and is not refined, it has a lovely crude and strong aroma.
How Much Is Olive Oil Consumed When Cooking?
The USFDA recommended consuming one and a half tablespoons (about 20 grams). But the type of olive oil you are using and how you use olive oil in recipes also matter greatly. Whenever possible, choose extra-virgin olive oil because it has higher antioxidant and anti-inflammatory blend concentrations.
The amount of olive oil consumed when cooking will depend on the type and amount of food. It is vital not to use more than the required amount to avoid the addition of extra calories.
What To Cook with Olive Oil
We have listed some of the foods that can be cooked with olives. So, you can try these recipes the next time you are in the kitchen:
1- Salad Dressing
Olive oil is a great ingredient for salad and salad dressings. You can use it to make vinaigrette to drizzle over your salads. It is quite easy to make.
- Just add salt, some lemon juice, and black pepper in some olive oil.
- And pour this mixture over your fruit or vegetable salad. It gives an amazing flavor and aroma to it.
- Moreover, you can even add this dressing to your recipes of pasta to make them taste and smell good.
Contrary to a myth, heating extra virgin olive oil to a high frying temperature will not negatively impact its chemical composition if you keep it below the smoke point, showed studies. Actually, it will still be excellent for you because it is high levels of oleic acid and is rich in polyphenols.
Olive oil has a low smoke point. So, you can use olive oil for pan-frying, sautéing, or shallow frying but not for deep-fried foods. Some foods that can be cooked with a small amount of olive oil in a pan are:
- Steamed vegetables
- Chicken breast
- Garlic bread
3- Healthy Sauces and Dips
Olive oil can act as an emulsifier when you are making a sauce. It combines water and fat together really well. And it is a great alternative to unhealthy and high-calorie sauces available in the market for sale.
Get a healthy sauce combined with a dash of olive oil. It’s flavorful and healthy.
Benefits of Olive Oil in Cooking
Some of the benefits of olive oil for cooking include:
- Prevents heart diseases: Olive oil has a high content of vitamin E which is an excellent antioxidant. It can fight free radicals in our body and improve our immune system. Eventually, this can protect us from various diseases like cardiovascular disorders, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
- May improve cognition: A Mediterranean diet high in olive oil provides health benefits for brain function, showed a study.
- Anti-inflammatory: Antioxidants in olive oil, particularly oleocanthal, suppress inflammation in the same way that anti-inflammatory medicines do. Chronic inflammation is a major contributor to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, arthritis, cancer, and others.
- Improves Immunity: Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to improve immunity by altering bacteria in the digestive tract. Moreover, it builds a stronger immune system to fight other diseases as well.
- May help prevent strokes – Stroke is the second most common cause of death in developed nations, after heart disease, according to the World Health Nations (WHO). An extensive review of studies in 841,000 people discovered that olive oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat associated with lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease. Another study of 140,000 participants found that people who consumed olive oil had a lower risk of stroke than those participants who did not.
- May reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: A study observed that olive oil might protect against the development of diabetes, possibly via the amelioration of insulin sensitivity and anti-inflammatory actions.
- Could help treat depression and anxiety: The ingredients in extra virgin olive oil may help protect the nervous system and could help treat depression and anxiety, suggested a 2013 study. People who consumed trans fats, an unhealthful fat in fast foods and premade baked goods, were more likely to have depression than those individuals who consumed unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, found another study.
How To Pick The Right Kind Of Olive Oil?
When buying olive oil, choose extra virgin olive oil because it is less processed, has more antioxidants, and is safe to use for most cooking methods.
- Choose Extra virgin olive oil because it is considered a healthier type of olive oil whenever you want to buy olive oil.
- In addition, carefully read the product label and check the ingredient lists to ensure you purchase natural extra virgin olive oil.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) uses odor, flavor, absence of defects, and acidity to grade olive oil.
Overall, olive oil, especially virgin olive oil, benefits your heart, brain, and joints because of its powerful antioxidants.
Also, olive oil is low in saturated fats and cholesterol and has numerous health benefits. It is recommended for patients with heart disease and diabetes due to its nutritional value and anti-inflammatory properties.
I hope this article was helpful and helped you understand how to count calories when cooking with olive oil.