The Mediterranean diet is said to be very high in fats in comparison to that of the American diet. However, studies revealed that populations in Greece, Italy, and Spain have lower rates in terms of people suffering from coronary heart disease. The fat quantity is not an important factor, but rather the quality of fat. In Mediterranean diets, people consume mostly extra virgin olive oil. This is considered as monounsaturated fats, while the ones consumed by Americans are mostly saturated fats.
What is extra virgin olive oil? When oil is considered as extra virgin, it is the most expensive and is of highest quality. The extra virgin olive oil has no defects and you will be able to taste the fresh olives. The oil is free from acidity and it is prepared without using any solvents. Only the International Olive Council can classify a true extra virgin olive oil.
The fruity flavor of extra virgin olive oil may vary depending on the olive varieties being used. It will have a satisfying acrid flavor, and peppery sensation inside the mouth. Olive oil can come in different grades such as refined olive oil, crude olive-pomace oil, or regular olive oil, and the extra virgin olive oil is the one with the highest quality.
The consumption of monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil offers many health benefits. Statistics show that people using the extra virgin oils have lower cholesterol levels and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease is lower. The extra virgin oil contains phenolic compounds that affect the level of cholesterol, oxidation, blood clotting, and blood pressure. If you’re smart, you should include monounsaturated fats in your diet.
Did you know that extra virgin olive oil also contains high amounts of Vitamin E? The latter is considered an antioxidant which fights the toxins that are ingested in the body. Together with the phenolic compounds, it is able to reduce LDL oxidation. Cancer of the digestive tract can also be prevented when you introduce olive oil in your diet. The polyphenols in the oil is the one responsible for this, particularly the secoiridoids. It also balances the bacteria in the stomach to prevent further infections.
The overall health of your bones is also enhanced with the use of the extra virgin oil. Hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol are the two polyphenols that improves the calcium level in your blood. Aside from that, you will also enjoy the cognitive benefits. Studies have proven that the oil can improve cognitive functions with regular use.
Why don’t you start using the extra virgin olive oil? It is best used for salads, stews, and soups because of its delicate flavor. The aroma and mouth feel of the oil is unique. The many health benefits of the oil should convince you that this is a good choice despite its slightly higher price than conventional olive oils.
If you live in Mediterranean countries, there is an abundance of this extra virgin oil. Just in case there is a limited source of extra virgin olive oil, you can buy linseed oil, hemp oil, and rapeseed oil. Try these oils today!