Guest post on olive oil:
I love cooking with olive oil. Infused with garlic for a pasta dish…yum, replacing other oils in quick breads (pumpkin and zucchini)…awesome, in pizza dough and pizza sauce…out of sight! The range of flavors with true extra virgin olive oil simply gives so much variety within the same dish. I find that each ingredient’s flavor is more powerful when olive oil is a partner. The textures seem to become smoother than with other oils. All of these characteristics make it my first choice.
Along with these culinary benefits, olive oil is packed full of health benefits as well. The fat is “good fat”, monounsaturated. This can help reduce the risk of Type II Diabetes and slow down heart aging. Studies also show that olive oil might help prevent strokes, certain types of cancer and Alzheimer’s. This list only scratches the surface.
You do have to be careful when it comes to choosing your olive oil as there are a lot of versions on the market that are not true extra virgin. These imitations can actually have some negative health benefits associated with them. They are watered down with soy bean oil and genetically modified canola oil which is going to cause heart disease and is highly inflammatory. Whereas real extra virgin olive oil is actually an anti-inflammatory and can help reverse disease.
Picking out a quality olive oil is not hard. Check the labels and make sure it is packed with Polyphenols which is basically an antioxidant that helps support the brain and the heart. You’ll also want to confirm there are high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids as well as oleic acids which also support the heart and balancing hormones and your joints. Your olive oil should have good levels of vitamin E which is also crucial for heart health and healthy growing skin. When you get your olive oil home you should smell it. Good quality will have strong smells of pepper and fresh herbs and of course olives. It should always come in a dark brown or green glass bottle and when you refrigerate, the oil should actually become cloudy. On the label it should definitely read extra virgin olive oil and some sort of organic certification. It’s also good to confirm the harvest season and lot number mentioned on the bottle for legitimacy.
When you have real olive oil, it is definitely healthy for you and can be considered a superfood for all of those internal systems within your body. The fact that I enjoy olive oil in my diet just makes the health benefits a win win…EVOO!