Why lemon juice and olive oil should be the main ingredients in every dressing? Besides the taste criteria, learn about the huge health benefits…
Health benefits of consuming olive oil
Olive oil has been studied extensively for its health benefits. Along with vegetables and fruits, it’s the cornerstone of the famous Mediterranean Diet.
People from the Mediterranean area had less risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, stroke, and hyperlipidemia than people from North America and North Europe (1).
The kind of dietary fat we consume plays an important role in our health. When we replace saturated fat with monounsaturated fat (the main fat in olive oil), we help our heart stay healthy.
That’s known as the Mediterranean Diet Paradox, as the population in the Mediterranean area had a 30-fold lower rate of coronary heart disease than people in northern areas that consumed more saturated fats.
Moreover, extra virgin olive oil is rich in unique polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds that have powerful antioxidant properties and fight chronic inflammation diseases like cancer.
The extra virgin olive oil is by far the richest vegetable oil in polyphenols.
The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil are so strong that EU legislation has enabled the use of health claims on extra-virgin olive oil labels (1):
“Olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.”
This health claim is allowed only for olive oil containing at least 0.25 mg/g of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (e.g., oleuropein complex and tyrosol). Oleuropein is an antioxidant polyphenol present in olive oil.
Among the antioxidant compounds generally associated with olive oil, oleuropein has several pharmacological properties, including (1):
- antiviral, and
Health benefits of drinking lemon juice
Citrus has important properties due to its phenolic compounds (1):
- anticlotting and
Particularly, citrus fruits such as orange and lemon provide a great number of secondary metabolites. These are phytochemicals that help the plant survive in a harsh environment. Additionally, the same phytochemicals have studied for their important medicinal and pharmaceutical applications.
Especially lemon juice is a good source of antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid, flavonoid and phenolic derivatives.
Even more, whole citrus fruits (peels and juice of lemon and orange) contain bioactive compounds such as polyphenols that also have strong antimicrobial and antiradical activities (2).
Furthermore, these compounds can help to neurodegenerative diseases as Parkinson’s disease (2).
Moreover, lemon juice is high in erycosytryn and hesperidin flavones. These are potent polyphenols that can decrease (3):
- oxidative stress,
- inflammatory biomarkers and lipid levels in patients with cardiovascular diseases,
- blood pressure,
- total cholesterol, and
- LDL cholesterol
A combination of garlic and lemon juice resulted in the best results.
Additionally, lemon juice has powerful anti-aging properties, due to eriocitrin (4).
Eriocitrin is the main lemon polyphenol. It’s a yellow water-soluble antioxidant that is abundant in lemon juice and peel.
Lemon juice and olive oil dressing
As you can see, the usage of extra virgin olive oil with fresh lemon juice is good for you.
We want the more tasteful and healthful recipes…
As the base of any dressing, try to add fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and garlic. Blend them together with other nuts, seeds, and herbs.
This combination will boost the antioxidant content of your salad and will allow the nutrients to become more bioabsorbable, due to the healthy fats.
- Cold-Pressing Olive Oil in the Presence of Cryomacerated Leaves of Olea or Citrus: Nutraceutical and Sensorial Features
- Nutraceutical Oils Produced by Olives and Citrus Peel of Tuscany Varieties as Sources of Functional Ingredients
- Effect of Garlic and Lemon Juice Mixture on Lipid Profile and Some Cardiovascular Risk Factors in People 30-60 Years Old with Moderate Hyperlipidaemia: A Randomized Clinical Trial
- Effects of lifelong intake of lemon polyphenols on aging and intestinal microbiome in the senescence-accelerated mouse prone 1 (SAMP1)
- NCBI: Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties.