By Veronica Cristino

They call it liquid gold. Olive oil has long been a staple of the Mediterranean diet, but it wasn't until recently that we realized that it not only makes foods taste better—it can make your body function better (and for longer), too.

A few months ago, I started drinking a tablespoon of virgin olive oil every morning on a empty stomach. I know, it sounds a bit intense—but after hearing all the benefits, it became the first step in my morning ritual. And once I gave it some time, it became a habit I decided to keep up with because of all the beneficial effects on my body. Read more for all the details.

What is olive oil?

Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat made of oleic acid, phytosterols, carotenoids, tocopherols, and polyphenols. It's extracted from grinding the flesh of the olive fruit then straining the liquid that comes out.
Benefits of olive oil

    fights diabetes
    is good for the heart
    reduces high blood pressure
    keeps cholesterol under control
    strengthens bones
    lower incident of stroke
    healthier gut
    increases serotonin levels in the brain, counteracting depression

Regular olive oil versus virgin olive oil: Which is better?

When it comes to getting the most beneficial spoonful, reach for extra virgin olive oil. Standard variations of olive oil use heat to extract as much juice from the fruit as possible—but virgin olive oil is created through using a cold-pressing process and left unrefined, which leaves all the beneficial molecules in tact.  

Why take olive oil on an empty stomach in the morning

There's something very potent about taking a wellness shot first thing in the morning (just like taking apple cider vinegar or lemon water) In addition to all the benefits given by general consumption at meals of olive oil, drinking one or two tablespoons in the morning on an empty stomach has special benefits:

    lines the stomach to aid with digestion
    improves intestinal transit
    regulates the intestinal microbiota
    is a daily shot of antioxidants and polyphenols

I wanted to try this wellness habit because I have a lot of digestive issues, like frequent acid reflux caused by stress and less-than-stellar eating habits. Within a few days, I felt as if the oil was creating a protective layer in my stomach. Within a couple of weeks, I counted fewer and fewer episodes of stomach acidity and less difficulty when it came to digesting.

Now, I'm all in—though just one spoonful is the right amount for me.

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