The Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Great Taste and Great for You!
Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the highest quality in California, has significant health benefits.
Antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids all mean improved taste and health. Look for the seal of certification and the harvest and mill dates. The fresher the better. The main type of fat in vegetable oils, polyunsaturated fat, encourages oxidation. Excessive oxidation increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, and general aging. In contrast, certified extra virgin olive oil, contains a rich amount of monounsaturated fat, preventing oxidation.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil also contains a number of phenols that act as antioxidants which will lower oxidation and therefore increases the health benefits. A study from Spain, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, evaluated the prevention of cardiovascular Disease with the Mediterranean Diet. The results of the study concluded that “in this primary prevention trial, it was observed that an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events among high-risk person. It supports the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” The interventions were intended to improve the overall dietary pattern of the study groups.
SIMPLE: Consider your food choices. Eat good, fresh, colorful food, with variety and balance, and use good certified olive oil. A plant based diet is best and supported in research. Avoid prepackaged foods, and “noise” from the media. There is no single magic bullet to health. But the simple action of eating good food with certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil, can make an impressive difference.
There are “foodie gurus” who are proponents of healthy nutrition. Mary Flynn, Marion Nestle, and Alice Waters.
Mary Flynn, Ph.D. from Brown University, says that Extra Virgin Olive Oil may be the one true super food. Not by itself but with a plant based or plant centered diet. The Mediterranean Diet is a subsistence diet with foods, fruits, and vegetables that you can grow in your back yard or buy at a local farmers market. Meats are usually very limited, because of the expense and availability. Flynn has taught that the cornerstone foods of the Mediterranean Diet are Extra Virgin Olive Oil, vegetables (with particular emphasis on those with deep color and those from the cruciferous family), and starches/grains, whole grains, with minimal lean animal protein.
Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H. Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, is a professor of Sociology at NYU and a visiting professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. Her degrees include a BA (Phi Beta Kappa) a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition, all from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the Chair of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, and has nutrition at the UCSF School of Medicine. She was a senior nutrition policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services and editor of the Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health. She is a very important supporter of healthy plates for children and adults, and an outspoken advocate of good balanced nutrition.
Alice Waters, from Chez Pannise restaurant in Berkeley, and her involvement in the Farm to Table movement (an ancient way of eating) and Slow Food has guided people to address the importance of fresh and healthy food in their everyday diet. A vision she presents daily at her restaurant.
Healthy nutrition with great olive oil may be one of the best recommendations from these gurus. But here are reasons to be wary when you are purchasing olive oil. Olive oil is one of the most adulterated foods bought here in the United States. These, mainly imported oils, are refined and adulterated with vegetable oil. The vegetable oil is refined with high heat and chemicals and then added to lower quality olive oil. Most of the oils sold in the US in supermarket shelves is fraudulent oil and is rancid. My staff and I taste tested some of the “supermarket oils” and were not surprised by the rancidity of nearly all. Follow the numbers, it costs less because of the adulteration. Usually these oils are owned by huge multinational conglomerates.
Fraudulent olive oil is a great problem in the United States. Oil that is labeled as extra virgin oil, without certification, with unknown herbs and vinegar in the same bottle is illegal and is an inferior quality oil. Adulterated oil is bad for you as a consumer, bad for your health, and bad for your pocketbook.
Today, I tasted an oil that espoused the health benefits of olive oil but was not certified, was not olive oil and was beyond rancid. There were no harvest and mill dates, and was bottled in a clear bottle. The taste and the aroma was horrible.
Certification is an important documentation on each bottle, harvest mill date tells you when the oil is made. At IL Fiorello, we have chosen not to use “Best by” dates as each oil is different. Again fresh is best.
In summary use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for improved taste profiles, learn varietal differences, and enjoy the health benefits of certified oil.
Choose healthy foods with great taste that will result in a better you.
We challenge you to explore different food choices and Extra Virgin Olive Oil parings to expand your palate.
Ciao to good health