Is a shot of olive oil every day good for gut health and weight loss?

Shots of olive oil is one of the latest wellness trends causing a buzz. (Getty Images)
Shots of olive oil is one of the latest wellness trends causing a buzz. (Getty Images)

We all know that olive oil has many health benefits, thanks in particular to its high content of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.

While most people get their fix by cooking or adding it as a dressing or drizzle to other dishes, more recently there has been a buzz about knocking back a daily dose of olive oil in a shot glass.

And it seems certain celebrities are on board with Kourtney Kardashian, Beyonce and Ryan Seacrest all admitting to downing extra virgin straight from the bottle.

Devotees claim a small hit of the good stuff could have significant benefits for your skin, hair, and nails but also help you lose weight and reduce joint pain.

But a lot of the wellness trends we see on TikTok don't always deliver the health pros they promise. We spoke to an expert to find out if we should all be downing a shot of olive oil before our breakfast and whether there are any risks of consuming it in this way.

Benefits of olive oil

Olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil is a superfood that contains anti-inflammatory qualities, helps supports the growth of healthy bacteria, and can also improve brain function.

"It is packed with antioxidant compounds, like vitamin E, oleacein and oleocanthal. As well as compounds called polyphenols, which are phenomenal for your hair, skin, joints, and weight," explains Abigail Roberts, sports nutritionist at

There are other ways to consume olive oil. (Getty Images)
There are other ways to consume olive oil. (Getty Images)

Roberts says there are many perceived plus points of olive oil including:-

Gut health

One of the most significant benefits of olive oil is its ability to heal the gut. "This is because the antioxidants in olive oil can help to repair and heal the gut lining," explains Roberts.

“The components in olive oil such as vitamin E, oleacein, and oleocanthal and polyphenols help to enhance and stimulate the diversity of the bacteria in the gut - especially the good bacteria.

Olive oil consumption can also help encourage your intestines to absorb more vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. "It also helps to increase Bifidobacteria in the gut, which can increase the feeling of being full and have positive effects on weight and cholesterol," Roberts continues.

However, it is important to remember that the key element to a healthy gut is fibre, as high fibre supports our gut microbe.

"Olive oil does not contain any fibre, therefore, pairing it with a high-fibre-content food such as quinoa or lentils is a perfect balance," Roberts adds.

Skin, hair, nails

Olive oil is particularly full of healthy fatty acids, which are known to have significant benefits on skin and hair health.

"It is also rich in antioxidants and skin-friendly lipids that can help address skin concerns like dryness or rough-feeling skin," Roberts continues.

"Whilst many people will spend a fair amount of money on skin creams and hair masks, they tend to forget about their diet. What we put inside our bodies is just as important as what we put on the outside."

Should we all be taking a shot of olive oil every day? (Getty Images)
Should we all be taking a shot of olive oil every day? (Getty Images)

Joints and pain

According to Harvard research the Mediterranean diet, which is heavily focused on olive oil, is proven to help with cognitive function, cognitive decline, and dementia risk.

“This is because the polyphenols in olive oil act also as a natural painkiller and can even work better than ibuprofen," Roberts explains.

"Studies have also confirmed the effectiveness of olive oil in controlling morning inflammatory pain of phalanges and knees among women with rheumatoid arthritis.”

Weight loss

Ryan Seacrest recently revealed he takes a shot of olive oil per day to help with weight loss.

"This is because olive oil helps you lose weight because it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids," Roberts says. "These are known to help with weight loss by increasing your metabolism, reducing your appetite, and reducing your body fat."

Roberts cites a study in which a treatment group, who were given extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), lost 80% more body fat than the control group who didn’t consume EVOO.

"In the long-term, olive oil continues to have positive effects on the body and keep the weight off or stable," she adds.

How to consume a shot of olive oil

While you can drink olive oil any time of day, many of the shot-a-day advocates claim that they prefer to do so first thing in the morning before anything else.

But it is important to do what works for you, because some people may experience discomfort if they consume it on an empty stomach.

“If you don’t want to shot it on its own, you can choose to incorporate it into a meal of your choice," advises Roberts. "For example, drizzle onto an eggs and avocado dish or a lunchtime salad.

“Whilst there is no research to support whether it should be taken on an empty stomach, it is important to be aware that eating or drinking excessive amounts of oil at once can make you feel a bit nauseous.”

There are many health benefits of olive oil. (Getty Images)
There are many health benefits of olive oil. (Getty Images)

Risks of olive oil shots

Consuming the FDA-recommended two tablespoons of olive oil per day should be enough to get the benefits without causing upset stomachs.

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Food and Drug Association (FDA), two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day should be enough to reap the benefits without any detrimental impacts.

But if you're already consuming the recommended daily intake of olive oil, taking an additional shot could mean you're having too much.

"Consuming too much olive oil can have adverse effects," advises Roberts. "Excessive amounts of oil can lead to an upset stomach, which can cause gastrointestinal problems and abdominal discomfort.

"The high-fat content of olive oil can also induce digestive problems," she continues. "Therefore, it is important to consume it in moderation, ideally no more than 2-3 tablespoons at once.

"If you have a particularly sensitive gut, avoid drinking olive oil on an empty stomach, and try to pair it with other foods to help ease digestion."

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