Olive oil has long been found to play a positive role in health and healing. Below, a handful of studies on the positive effect of adding the oil to your diet.

Studies Show Olive Oil Prevents Disease

  • Protection against diabetes [BMJ, 336:1348-1351].
  • Combats degenerative diseases [Science Daily].
  • Reduction of cardiovascular disease [Clin Cardiol, vol.30, p.125-129].
  • Protection against cancer [J. Annals of Oncology, 16(3):359-371].
  • Lowered LDL with as little as 2tsp/day [EJCN, 56: 114-120].
  • Reduces risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis [Am J Clin Nutr,; 70: 1077-1082].
  • Protection from breast, prostate cancers [Am J Clin Nutr, ,Vol 66, 998S-1003S].

The latest results in the American Journal of Nutrition are no exception. Looking to support prior research showing the anti-carcinogenic properties of phenols in olive oil, researchers found a positive correlation. Also of importance, a normal intake of olive oil will provide phenolic concentrations effective against oxidative DNA damage. Adding olive oil to your diet is a positive step toward good nutrition.

Notes About Choosing the Right Olive Oil:

  • A basic rule is to choose Extra Virgin olive oil, the greener the better.
  • Extra Virgin oil can have up to .8% acidity, is higher quality, and from the first press of the olives.
  • Extra virgin oil also contains more polyphenols, thus anti-oxidant properties.
  • Virgin oils have up to 2% acidity, undergo a second press, contain fewer nutrients and are better for cooking, sauteeing.
  • Extra-light olive oil refers to color, not caloric density.

Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dry place to protect it from breaking down. Buy smaller bottles which are used up more frequently as opposed to keeping the same bottle for long periods of time.

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Adding olive oil to the diet can be quite easy. The most healthful and simple way is to add to foods which are ready to eat as heat added to the oil reduces some of the benefits:

Adding Olive Oil to your Diet:

  • Drizzle over salads with a splash of red wine vinegar, and a sprinkling of asiago cheese.
  • Replace butter or margarine with olive oil in your favorite vegetable recipe. You’ll reduce unhealthful fats and gain the benefits in one dish.
  • Olive oil and course sea salt liven up popcorn.
  • For dipping bread, pour a small amount of olive oil onto a plate, add a half-dollar sized amount of balsamic vinegar to the center of the oil, dust with Italian herbs.
  • Toss into pasta with slices of plum tomatoes and feta cheese.
  • Sprinkle over pizza crust before adding toppings.

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus~A recipe

Cooking and Baking with Olive Oil:

  • Eggs can be cooked in olive oil, simply fry in a teaspoon or two of oil and season to taste.
  • (Take the above fried egg, lay atop pasta, break yolk and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano for zip.)
  • Drizzle olive oil over cut root vegetables and bake in a 375 degree oven until tender.
  • Saute vegetables or garlic and onions in olive oil; the latter can be used in recipes.
  • Replace up to 25% of the butter in a baked good with olive oil. Here you’ll want to use lighter colored oils.

With a little trial and error you’ll soon see that olive oil fits easily into many of your favorite recipes and tops your favorite foods. Or you may just want to add a few teaspoons to your coffee or morning tea. Either way, olive oil with its many health-improving properties is too important to be neglected and has a definite place in daily nutrition.

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