How to Combine Olive Oil and Lemon Juice for Maximum Health Benefits and Flavor
You might not think of olive oil and lemon as a match made in heaven, but these two ingredients combine into a powerful duo for thousands of years in Greek cuisine. The health benefits of both of these foods are greatly complemented by the resulting flavor. The new ingredient is called “ladolémono”, and is used in specific dishes to create a culinary bliss!
Olive Oil: A Rich Source of Healthy Fats and Polyphenols
If you’ve taken a look at our family’s blog you must be familiar with olive oil’s health benefits. Our liquid gold is a rich source of healthy fats, polyphenols, and vitamins.
- Healthy Fats: The monounsaturated fats found in olive oil are good for your heart and help promote a healthy body weight, cardiovascular state, and blood sugar levels. Learn more at our guide for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).
- Polyphenols: While most people think of flavonoids when they think of antioxidants, polyphenols are just as important. Olive oil is a rich source of polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants that can help prevent certain types of cancer, among numerous other health benefits. Olive oil contains some unique polyphenols such as oleuropein and oleacein. Only specific types of olive oil have a high enough polyphenol content for consumers to receive their benefits. For more information, check our polyphenol-rich olive oil guide.
- Vitamins & Minerals: Olive oil is a source of vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin K. In addition, it is a source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
One of the World’s Healthiest Foods
Lemons are perceived as a very healthy ingdetient while making our dishes taste lovely for thousands of years. Lemons contain:
- Vitamin C: All body tissues require vitamin C, sometimes referred to as ascorbic acid, for their growth, development, and repair. It plays a role in a variety of processes, such as the production of collagen, iron absorption, immune system performance, wound healing, and cartilage, bone, and tooth preservation.
- Limonene: They also contain limonene, a phytochemical that’s been shown to have anti-cancer benefits in animal models.
- Minerals: Lemons are also a good source of potassium, which can help prevent high blood pressure and stroke.
Is it Healthy to Combine Olive Oil and Lemon?
In short, both ingredients have numerous health benefits individually. These benefits persist while combining the ingredients into ladolemono.
For example, the natural antioxidants that can be found both in olive oil and lemon juice can neutralize free radicals. However, there is currently no research that demonstrates a specialized synergy between the two ingredients.
Olive Oil and Lemon Juice for Weight Loss
Although we don’t have details about a synergistic effect between extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice for weight loss, it is safe to say that both ingredients are great choices for weight loss and weight management. Olive oil is among the healthiest fats to include in your diet, while lemon juice will provide enough vitamin C to maximize fat burning during exercise.
Drinking olive oil and lemon juice for weight loss will be effective as long as you don’t consume other processed and less healthful fats. After all, olive oil has a high caloric value and doesn’t allow much room for other calorie-rich fats in your diet.
Lemon and Olive Oil for Fatty Liver
Lemon juice and olive oil have an effect on the liver.
Both conventional EVOO and polyphenol-rich EVOO are beneficial to some extent regarding the condition of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Specifically, patients with NAFLD were able to lose weight, improve liver collagen content, and improve insuline sensitivity while on a high-fat diet rich in EVOO or polyphenol-rich EVOO. Additionally, while both types of EVOO incrase LDL cholesterol, polyhpenol-rich EVOO boosts HDL cholesterol, known as the “good cholesterol.” However, liver inflammation and fibrosis are not improved while on a high-fat diet, even if it includes olive oil.
Lemon juice benefits the liver thanks to its high content of vitamin C, which helps improve liver health and glucose metabolism, even while undergoing NAFLD. Animal studies have shown that lemon juice protects against Alcohol-Related Liver Disease (ARLD).
No studies have been conducted to reveal any potetial synergies between olive oil and lemon juice against fatty liver disease.
If you are suffering from fatty liver disease, the best way forward would be to follow a low-fat diet that will allow your liver to heal. In a low-fat diet, small amounts of olive oil combined with lemon juice could help reduce inflammation, at least more efficiently than other, less healthful, types of fats.
Olive Oil and Lemon Juice for Gallstones and Kidney Stones
Therefore, an easy way to prevent gallstones and kidney stones from forming, would be to include healthy fats in your diet, such as MUFAs, and a sufficient intake of vitamin C. These very useful types of nutrients can be found in abundance in high quality olive oil and lemon juice. Sounds like you don’t need to worry about gallstones if you love ladolemono!
There is no sufficient evidence that using olive oil and lemon juice could help pass gallstones or kidney stones. While there are quite a few remedies out there, they are not backed by relevant experiments.
Olive Oil and Lemon Juice in the Morning
Driking olive oil and lemon juice in the morning means that you consume these ingredients on an empty stomach.
Consuming olive oil on an empty stomach helps create a protective film on the gastric wall. In turn, this reduces gastric acidity and creates a favorable environment for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc, later in the day. For those who don’t feel like or don’t have the time to eat breakfast, olive oil’s high caloric value can provide just enough energy to start the day without risking exhaustion later.
There is no sufficient information, other than numerous remedies with no scientific backing, that lemon juice on an empy stomach has any special beneficial effect. In addition, both vitamin C and the vitamin B complex that lemon juice contains are water-soluble. Therefore, drinking olive oil and lemon juice will not provide increased vitamin C, or vitamin B absorption.
If you enjoy the taste of lemon feel free to mix it in your morning EVOO. Otherwise, just enjoy your olive oil plain, if it is high-quality it should taste lovely anyway!
How to Make Ladolemono
Combining olive oil and lemon juice to make ladolemono is one of the easiest recipes you will ever need to follow.
Calories per Serving
Seafood / Vegetables
- 120 ml EVOO or Poyphenol-Rich EVOO
- 50 ml Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tsp Salt (Optional)
- 1 tsp Oregano (Optional)
- Protein 0% 0%
- Fat 98% 98%
- Carbs 2% 2%
Instructions & Advice
- Simply add the lemon juice and salt (optional) in the olive oil and mix for a few seconds until the mixture is mostly homogenous.
- Ladolemono can be either dense like a cream, or fully liquid like a dressing. To make it dense just pour it in a vase, close safely with a lid, and shake it firmly. Or, simply put it in the blender.
- You can make numerous variations by including mustard, oregano, thyme, etc.
- Ladolemono is preserved only for a few days, since lemon juice degrades the quality of the olive oil over time. Make sure to keep it in the fridge only for a few days and shake it well before using again.
What is the Right Type of Olive Oil for Ladolemono?
Olive oil is the most diverse fat in terms of flavor. It can be bitter and pungent, balanced and smooth, or even delicate and “sweet”. What is the right olive oil for mixing with olive juice?
It is important for the olive oil to not be defective. It is quite common for consumers to not identify defective olive oil, so make sure to study our guide for the best olive oil for your needs.
Since ladolemono is added raw over cooked meals or salads, it is a great opportunity to utilize a high quality extra virgin olive oil, to receive the relevant health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice create a pleasantly complicated flavor that will complement neutral flavors like fish ideally. There is no point in using refined olive oil, typically labeled simply as “Olive Oil”, since the resulting dressing will lack in flavor and health benefits, while providing all the calories. Lemon and EVOO is the best combination to go.
Ideally, use a polyphenol-rich extra virgin olive oil with lemon juice. The increased polyphenol content will add pleasant bitter and pungent notes, along with the aromatic profile of green unripe olives. This will bring the final dish on a whole other level.
How to Choose the Right Lemons for Ladolemono
Lemon juice can make or break the classic ladolemono as well as the precious seafood we’re topping it with. Lemons on a typical grocery store are well-polished and brightly yellow although they may have traveled from far away and waited for months in storage refrigerators.
As a result, the ladolemono may take on a a musty flavor that resembles the long storage periods, and a reduced acidity. This can really affect your olive oil and lemon juice dressing.
Choose locally sourced lemons that haven’t spend most of their lives in a refrigerator.
- Make shure the peel is harshy and slightly porous, not smooth and polished.
- Scratch the surface lightly and give it a sniff. There should be a long-lasting and intense aroma.
- Non-massively produced lemons don’t produce very much juice when squeezing, but the quality of their lemon juice is intense and ideal for ladolemono.
Lemon-Infused Olive Oil: Does it Make Sense?
Lemon-infused olive oil is a new culinary trend that sucked the attention of numerous consumers. However, it is important to clarify that lemon-flavored olive oil is not the same as ladolemono, the actual mix of olive oil and lemon juice. Typically, even the best lemon-infused olive oil could not compare to the freshness and benefits of ladolemono. Here’s why:
Lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil is kind of a paradox. Infusing the olive oil with any other ingredient causes the oil’s chemical structure to degrade much faster. Soon, even before purchasing it from the store, the olive oil will not be extra virgin, but rather defective. In most cases, commercially prepared infused olive oil products, don’t use EVOO but refined olive oil. Infused olive oil is a smart way for distributors to increase the profit margins of low quality olive oils.
However, homemade lemon-infused olive oil can be quite a success. It is still far from ladolemono, but it can be an interesting project to “save” your dying ex-EVOO at the corner of your pantry.
Agrumato Lemon Olive Oil: An Interesting Choice
Another type of lemon-flavored extra virgin olive oil is agrumato lemon olive oil. In this case, lemons are crushed along with the olive fruit in the olive press. Small amounts of lemon essential oils are released from the skin of the lemon and find their way in the resulting olive oil.
Agrumato lemon olive olive oil has a more intense and authentic flavor than lemon-infused olive oil. Also, it is possible for this type of olive oil to be extra virgin.
However, it is impossible to find an agrumato extra virgin olive oil pressed with lemons that is rich in polyphenols. Agrumato olive oil is made with ripe or overripe olive fruit that typically have a low polyphenol content and as a result a delicate flavor. Ripe olives are ideal because the resulting oil tastes quite neutral, something that is fixed by the added lemon or other fruits.
On the other hand, ladolemono can be the result of a polyphenol-rich EVOO and fresh lemon juice, which brings it to the top as the healthiest and most flavorful option.
Where to Use Ladolemono
In Greek cuisine ladolemono is especially popular with fresh grilled fish, steamed vegetables, and salads, especially the ones that include tuna, beans, or chickpeas.
Of course, we live in the era of fusion cuisine, so feel free to try ladolemono with your local dishes and enjoy the results!
Broccoli with Lemon and Olive Oil
Kids tend to hate broccoli. As a kid, I hated it too. Especially after being exposed to the mesmerizing world of french fries. However, my mother knew how to turn this around by combining it with lemon juice and olive oil. It is a simple and the only way for me to enjoy broccoli.
- Prepare ladolemono in the way that is described above.
- Cut broccoli in little chunks.
- Steam or boil broccoli not more than 8-10 minutes.
- Pour ladolemono over broccoli and enjoy.
These three ingredients form a great synergy since broccoli is rich in vitamins K and A, which are fat-soluble, increasing their absorption. It is also rich in the vitamins of the B complex, including folate, and vitamin C. Also, it contains calcium, pottasium, and magnisium. Finally, it is low on calories, which makes it a perfect match for olive oil.
Fish with Ladolemono
It is not uncommon to enjoy fresh grilled fish in Greece. Typically, people enjoy grilled fish in big groups while on vacation during August.
In this setting, it is also common for the table to be filled with various appetizers, known as meze. However, fresh fish has such a unique and delicate flavor that I find it difficult to enjoy it while also enjoying other meze dishes.
For this reason, I either eat it plain or with lots of ladolemono. Olive oil and lemon juice are the only ingredients that match fresh grilled fish so exceptionally. You have to give it a try.
If ladolemono is used as dressing for fish that is quite fatty (e.g., salmon, sardine, herring, etc.), feel free to add an extra 10-20 ml of lemon juice to balance out the greasy tone of the two combined fats.
Bottom Line: How to Get the Most Out of Combining Olive Oil and Lemon Juice?
- Olive oil and lemon juice are helping us stay healthy in different ways. It’s like attacking an enemy from multiple directions.
- Ladolemono, the Greek dressing of olive oil and lemon juice tastes lovely and complements numerous dishes ideally.
- When olive oil with high polyphenol content is used for ladolemono, we receive additional health benefits and a better culinary experience.
- Keep in mind that both ingredients are not miraculous elixirs but foods that help us stay healthy in the context of a balanced lifestyle.
- Olive oil has a high caloric value and it is important to keep this in mind when you include it in your diet.
Olive Oil Taster / Olive Farmer / Olive Oil Producer / Writer on Myrolion.com
This article was written by Athanasios Demeslis, professional olive taster, olive farmer and olive oil producer of Myrolion, an Organic, Polyphenol-Rich EVOO from Greece.