Updated: Aug 27
Pure and unrefined – EVOO is one of nature’s very best products. It bundles fantastic flavours with a whole range of health benefits and is perfectly at home on your table or in your kitchen.
So what is it that Omega 3, 6 and 9 do for our health?
We have been told for many years that many vegetable and oily fish are very good for us because they contain these Omega unsaturated fatty acids. Let’s recap on what they are and what main health benefits they deliver.
Omega 3 - anti-inflammatory that lowers the risk of heart disease and reduces blood triglyceride levels.
Omega 6 - associated with a lower risk for diseases such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Extra virgin olive oil Omega 3 and Omega 6 are particularly highly regarded as healthy compounds and here we explain you why.
How can anything described as “fatty” be good for us?
Certain fats are essential for our bodies to function properly and remain healthy. Fats got a bad name in the 1950s and 60s, mainly in America. That led to the development and marketing of margarine, which was supposed to be better for us than butter. Wrong!
Now, much of that theory has been debunked, although saturated fats, like those in butter and dairy products, must be consumed in moderation. Likewise, man-made trans fats (saturated fats with added hydrogen) used in fast food and many convenience foods. They are especially bad for our health.
Nature gives us the good fats in abundance – mainly monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which are healthy dietary fats. This is what EVOO is very rich in. EVOO has a high ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids compared with saturated fatty acids, which makes it one of the healthiest oils.
EVOO has a high ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids compared with saturated fatty acids, which makes it one of the healthiest oils.
When you replace saturated and trans fats in your diet with unsaturated fats like MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), you are taking big steps to improve your health.
This excellent short article by the Mayo Clinic quickly explains the benefits of EVOO and MUFAs.
How much of these Omega acids are in EVOO?
Extra virgin olive oil Omega 3 and Omega 6 play a key role for the good functioning of human bodies. EVOO in fact contains essential linolenic (Omega 3) and linoleic (Omega 6) fatty acids in a good Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio, that is 8:1. That ratio is important because too much Omega 6 reduces the benefits of Omega 3. In other words, extra virgin olive oil Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are nicely balanced, and that’s what makes EVOO particularly suitable for cooking as well. Besides having a low ratio Omega 6:Omega 3, EVOO is also low in saturated fat, and free of genetically modified organism (GMO).
Oleic acid (Omega 9) is not considered an essential fatty acid because the body can produce its own. However, it is highly recommended to include natural sources in your diet.
Plant based diet and Omega fatty acids
Vegans, vegetarians and those who dislike oily fish need to be aware of what are good sources of these Omega fatty acids. There are, of course, many natural foods that deliver a whole range of all our essential nutrients. Meat is not essential, although it too contains some Omega 3.
EVOO delivers such a vast range of health benefits that everybody, including omnivores, should consider including it as part of a very healthy diet.
Only EVOO contains all of the nutrients packed into olive oil. Insist on Extra Virgin. Any product marked as “light” or “pure” olive oil has been refined. Refining strips out all of the good and healthy substances that occur naturally in EVOO.
If you aren't sure about the differences between EVOO and olive oil, you can find more in the following articles:
Dr. Axe (Jun 2018). Omega-9 Benefits the Heart, Brain & Your Mood. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/nutrition/fats-and-oils/omega-9-benefits/
Health Central (Oct 2008). Olive Oil, Omega 9, and Your Heart. Retrieved from https://www.healthcentral.com/article/olive-oil-omega-9-and-your-heart
Mayo Clinic (Jul 2016). If olive oil is high in fat, why is it considered healthy? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/food-and-nutrition/faq-20058439
Nutrition And You. Olive oil nutrition facts. Retrieved from https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/olive-oil.html
Olive Oil Source (2006). Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids. Retrieved from https://www.oliveoilsource.com/definition/omega-3-and-omega-6-fatty-acids
Olive Oil Times (Jun 2013). Researchers Recommend Vegetable Oils High in Omega 6. Retrieved from https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-health-news/study-omega-6-vegetable-oils/35378
SF Gate. What Are the 3 Leading Sources of Trans Fats? Retrieved from https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/3-leading-sources-trans-fats-3426.html
Wikipedia (Sep 2019). Omega-3 fatty acid. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid
Wikipedia (Aug 2019). Omega-6 fatty acid. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-6_fatty_acid
Wikipedia (Apr 2019). Omega-9 fatty acid. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-9_fatty_acid