Sunday, September 26, 2010

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a beneficial dietary fat with some great health benefits! It is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and asthma. 

Daily consumption of olive oil may even have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels. It has been associated with a significant decrease in LDL-cholesterol and an increase in HDL cholesterol (more commonly known as “the good cholesterol”)

Furthermore, a Mediterranean Diet - characterized by high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, vegetables, moderate consumption of fish and dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), and low consumption of meat, meat products and wine - is associated with a significantly lower risk of death from all causes. 

Practical Tips:

  • Add 2 tbsp of raw (uncooked) olive oil to your diet each day in place of other unhealthy fats/oils
  • Choose extra virgin olive oil (instead of regular olive oil or virgin olive oil) which is a richer source of polyphenols - known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticoagulant actions. Buy organic where possible. 
  • Be sure to let your olive oil come slowly up to heat with your pan. Do not add olive oil to a hot pan and be careful not to burn, or smoke your olive oil. This turns it into an unhealthy trans fat!
  • To get the most health benefit and flavour from your olive oil, buy and store oil in glass opaque containers, and add olive oil to foods after cooking.
  • Instead of serving butter, fill a small condiment dish with extra virgin olive oil for use on bread, rolls, potatoes or other vegetables. For even more flavour, try adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar or a sprinkling of your favourite spices to the olive oil.

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