Heart Healthy, Anti-Inflammatory and …Delicious.
Olive oil is a healthy fat and starting point for many dishes in Italian cuisine and Mediterranean diets. It comes from olives that are the fruit of the Olea europaea tree. Olive Oil’s distinctive green tint makes it a visual stand out while its host of super food properties makes it a nutritional stand out.
Rich in good monounsaturated fat, olive oil is the ideal food for heart health. This oil can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and exhibits anti-cancer properties. Studies show that replacing two tablespoons of saturated fat (found in butter and lard) with monounsaturated fat may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Also a recent study in the journal Nature reports that olive oil also has potent anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can help reduce pain and swelling just like a dose of ibuprofen.
Did You Know?
- 119 calories per tbsp.
- Recommendation: Eat 2 tbsp. per day
- Originated in Crete or Syria
- Olive oil does not need to be purchased organic although it is available
- Store olive oil away from any light or heat.
- Comes in a variety of grades: extra virgin, virgin, pure and light
- An olive branch is a symbol of peace
Four Types and How and When to Use.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – Pressed once it comes from the first pressing of olives, making it the highest quality olive oil.
Profile: EVOO contains less than one percent acidity. It has a perfectly balanced aroma and superior taste, Extra Virgin has a light, delicate flavor thanks to minimal processing.
Don’t: Use for cooking since high heat can damage the flavor and nutrients.
Uses: Salad dressings, soups, marinades, or for dipping delicious bread.
Virgin Olive Oil – Comes from the second pressing of slightly riper olives. “Virgin” actually refers to the fact that the olives haven’t had much handling and manipulating.
Profile: Has a bit higher acidity but is still known to have a pretty good taste.
Uses: Use this oil for lightly browning or sautéing vegetables or meat.
Regular (or Pure) Olive Oil – Known as commercial olive oil.
Profile: Has a blander taste and lighter color than its virgin counterpart. It has been chemically refined to neutralize the high acid content and strong flavors. Lowest nutrient levels.
Uses: All-purpose cooking oil, best for deep frying or stir frying due to its higher smoke point.
Light Olive Oil – Has the exact same fat and calorie content as virgin oil.
Profile: A less pure, more chemically refined mixture of lower-quality oils with some virgin oil added back in.
Uses: Virtually flavorless, so great for baking.