Every year, there always seems to be a wellness trend that takes the world by storm (CBD and gua sha have entered the chat), and this year, it seems to be taking a shot of olive oil in the morning. If your TikTok algorithm is anything like mine, you might land on videos with juice recipes for PCOS, makeup tutorials, easy breakfast recipes, and the occasional Harry Styles montage (OK, OK—it’s a little bit more than the “occasional” Harry Styles montage). But when I started to see more and more videos on #guthealthtok of people taking a shot of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice in the morning, I had to see what the craze was all about. Read on for my deep dive into the fad taking TikTok by storm and whether or not a shot of olive oil and lemon juice should be added to your morning routine.
What are people saying?
If your “For You” page hasn’t fed you videos of people taking a shot of EVOO yet, here is a rundown of what the TikToks are saying: If you take a shot on an empty stomach, it can coat the walls of the stomach, improving mobility throughout the colon, and allow smooth bowel movement and digestion. Some people add a splash of lemon juice for benefits like improved digestive health. Even though it’s currently a TikTok trend, taking a shot of olive oil isn’t anything new: Communities around the Mediterranean have been doing this for decades, and the use of olive oil for both nutritious and medicinal properties dates back to as early as Ancient Egypt.
If I’m being honest, taking a shot of EVOO doesn’t sound incredibly appetizing, but I’m all about dissecting wellness trends and figuring out ways to improve my overall health. So I asked experts whether or not the shot was worth the hype. If this trend has sparked your interest as much as it did mine, keep reading to hear what the experts have to say about the benefits of olive oil and whether or not we should hop on this trend too.
Benefits of olive oil
When it comes to whether or not olive oil is healthy, the rumors are true. Apparently, olive oil is a superfood that contains anti-inflammatory qualities, helps supports the growth of healthy bacteria, and improves brain function. “Olive oil contains polyphenols and a fatty acid profile that may help to diversify healthy gut bacteria and reduce harmful bacteria,” explained Cassie Brown, MS, CHHP. “We need these fats in order to support our cognitive health, proper energy function, and nerve function, and they can help protect against diseases, promote satiety, slow our digestion for proper absorption, help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and help hydrate and keep our cells proliferating.”
Like other healthy fats, olive oil can help improve your gut’s microbiome. “Healthy fats help your gut absorb certain micronutrients like vitamins A, D, and K, which are key for optimal health,” agreed Tara Bassi, MS, CNS, LDN. It is also very heart-friendly, thanks to its ability to assist in regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Bassi explained that maintaining healthy blood sugar levels can also impact your weight and overall digestive system.
So is the trend worth it?
It is no secret that olive oil is our friend: EVOO makes for a perfect kitchen staple and is great for our everyday diet, but is it necessary to start our mornings with a shot? Brown expressed that there is never a one-size-fits-all approach to treating any symptom, and while there’s a lot of research on the health benefits of olive oil in general, there’s no research backing up that taking a shot of it on an empty stomach is more beneficial.
Instead, she suggested that you can reap the benefits by pouring it on a salad, mixing it in a dressing, or adding it to a smoothie or meal just like you would any other healthy fat. Bassi agreed that just adding some olive oil to your meals throughout the day would be beneficial. However, every body is different, and just because a ritual is not studied does not mean it can’t make you feel good. If you are interested in trying the EVOO shot, it’s probably not harmful to take it in shot form (unless you have certain conditions that affect fat absorption), so talk to your doctor to identify if the extra dose of healthy fats is right for you.