Extra Virgin Olive Oil
And the Award For The Best Oil Goes To…
Homer called is “liquid gold”. Athletes in ancient Greece rubbed it on their bodies to highlight their defined muscular strength. Extra virgin olive oil has had a special importance to the people of the Mediterrantian for centuries on end! As a staple in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil along with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and nuts has been linked to people living longer.
In addition to having a part in helping people live a longer life, extra virgin olive oil has a variety of other health benefits. This oil consists mostly of monounsaturated fats that help keep LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) down while raising levels of HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). Rich in heart-healthy antioxidants, extra virgin olive oil has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease among those who consume it regularly. New research published in the journal BMC Cancer describes how good quality extra virgin olive oil can help fight cancer through its abundance of phytochemicals that can kill cancer cells.
With all the great health benefits oil from olives can provide, is it any surprise that it is our favorite?
Extra Virgin: What Does it Mean?
When it comes to reaping all the health benefits of olive oil, it is very important that you consume extra virgin olive oil instead of other variations such as pure olive oil, virgin olive oil, or simply olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the oil they take after the first pressing of olives, and it is the least processed of the olive oil variations sold in stores. If you want to get all the heart healthy antioxidants and polyphenols olive oil has, you must stick with the extra virgin kind.
Use extra virgin olive oil in dishes that benefit from its rich flavor. Use it to dress salad, dip bread in it, or drizzle it onto pasta or steamed vegetables for a tasty, savory treat. Olive oil can be used in a variety of ways, but we do not recommend cooking with it because it has a relatively low smoke point compared to other oils. When heated beyond its smoke point, extra virgin olive oil will lose its flavor and many of its nutrients and antioxidants, and can even develop dangerous oxygen radicals! Instead of cooking with olive oil, try cooking with sunflower oil or avocado oil, which can withstand much higher temperatures.