Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil has many benefits when used properly. You may not want to cook with it at high temperatures, though. While it appears to be more stable than other vegetable oils, all oils break down and lose their nutrients and flavor when cooked on high heat. Plus, the oxidation that happens during cooking may actually create compounds that attack healthy tissues in the body. For cooking at extremely high temperatures, it may be advisable to use a more stable fat that’s a shorter chain fatty acid, like coconut oil or avocado oil.
The Mediterranean diet has received much attention as a healthy way to eat, and with good reason. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers, depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function. In January, US News and World Report named it the “best diet overall” for the second year running.
The “PREDIMED” study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013 conclusively showed that the Mediterranean diet group had a third less heart disease, diabetes and stroke than the low-fat group. They also lost a little weight and had less memory loss. The most recent results showed that it also reduced chances of breast cancer, albeit in a small number of women.
Unsaturated fatty acids, whether monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, can lower your levels of "bad" cholesterol (which decreases your risk of heart disease) if you eat them instead of saturated fatty acids, Hughes says. Saturated fat -- found mostly in animal products and in palm and coconut oils -- is the main dietary cause of high blood cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association.