The start of the New Year is for many of us the time to reflect, set our resolutions, and create new habits. Some will meditate, some will start learning a new skill and others… will start taking a spoonful of olive oil in the morning!
This oil “trend” started to emerge quite recently with celebs swearing by it. Some, like Kourtney Kardashian, shoot a spoonful of it every other day, while others, like Sophia Loren, take it to the next level by bathing in it. Beyonce consumes it so liberally that she’s even invested in a drinking olive oil company and both J Lo and Gwenth Paltrow attribute glowing skin to EVOO use.
But those from the Mediterranean know this “trend” is actually a whole lifestyle. And drinking it dates back to times well before celebrities and TikTok influencers showed us how to put it in a bulletproof coffee. Since ancient times, it’s been known and used—religiously, in fact—to cure and nurture on many levels.
Needless to say, this new-found excitement is not without reason. There are actually some pretty amazing health benefits associated with regular consumption of olive oil. And since the internet seems abuzz with the ritual of taking a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil first thing in the morning, let’s dive into why:
1) Better digestion
The first thing you might notice once you start taking EVOO on an empty stomach is a dramatic improvement in your digestion. Olive oil is said to essentially line your gut, soften the stool and, as a result, relieve constipation. (Yes, we’re going there so hope you weren’t reading this blog for the recipes!) In general, it’s also known to relieve bloating by addressing the main causes there.
2) Steady blood sugar levels
Say it with us: FAT IS GOOD. It’s absolutely key to your diet and absorbing nutrients, so why not start your day with the healthiest type? Having fats in the morning slows down the absorption of any carbs and sugars we might consume later on. When your blood sugar is not suddenly spiked, you will avoid the afternoon slumps and shield yourself from the triggers of diabetes. So taking a spoon of extra virgin olive oil before any other food might just help with steadier energy levels as well as fend off those powerful sugar cravings.
3) Gut health & immunity
Studies show that our gut health has an immense impact on our wellbeing. The good kind of gut bacteria can influence our mood, weight and our body's ability to fight sickness and diseases. Extra virgin olive oil is your little helper here. It stimulates the growth of the beneficial bacterias and reduces the bad ones. It should work best when you have it first thing in the morning, as absorption of the nutrients will be higher after the night-long fast our bodies naturally undergo.
4) Anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation is one of our body’s natural defence mechanisms. But the Western lifestyle is full of signals that continuously activate the central stress axis and cause chronic inflammation, making our bodies unable to respond properly to diseases. This gives rise to a plethora of modern chronic conditions such as mental disorders, autoimmune diseases (AID) and cancers.
So to shield ourselves from these negative effects of modern lifestyle, we can alter the way we eat and the things we consume. EVOO contains an anti-inflammatory compound oleocanthal that acts similarly to a low dose of ibuprofen. Incorporating daily intake of extra virgin olive oil into our diets would significantly reduce the incidence of chronic inflammatory disease states.
5) Long-term effect
It’s the start of the new year, so it’s all about starting a positive ritual.
While a spoonful of olive oil might not change your life on day 1, consistent consumption of EVOO is proven to provide a multitude of long-term health benefits, such as better cardiovascular health, a reduced risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
It also has been linked to increasing one’s lifespan. The idea is derived from Dr. David Sinclair, Professor at Harvard Medical School and leading researcher on the science of ageing. To put it very simply, his work explains that our bodies live longer and fight disease as long as they perceive that we are facing tough times. But we don’t actually have to go through tough times, we can mimic adversity instead.
When we are hungry and our body breaks down fat to fuel us, oleic acid is released. This is the same compound found in olive oil! So by taking a spoon of oil in the morning we trigger the longevity pathways in our body and turn on its natural defence mechanisms. The research shows this will contribute to a longer life in better health.
All of this sounds great, but again—you can’t have a spoonful of EVOO once and expect results. You need to consume it regularly to feel its benefits. You also need to make sure it is extra virgin, as regular old olive oil is refined, losing its nutrients and potentially causing other issues.
We've tested this trend for over a month and we did feel some difference. Overall, there were days when our energy was more stable and our digestion better, and our blood sugar levels (we tracked them) proved to be more stable after having EVOO first thing in the morning.
That said, the findings were quite inconsistent, so it is hard to say whether that was all down to the morning spoonful or something else. As a team, we also already consume what could only be compared to GREEK LEVELS of extra virgin olive oil throughout the day, so maybe we’re already living La Vida Mediterránea quite well.
So all in all—we will stick to sipping on oil every now and then, but we much rather continue to pour it generously over our food every day.
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