Olive oil has been around since ancient times in Greece, Rome and Spain. Olives have been a part of religion, mythology, and culture and have been a symbol of peace and victory dating back to ancient civilizations. Modern science supports the idea that olive oil has many health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil has long been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, age related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Further investigation also confirms that consumption of extra virgin olive oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, prevents bad fat from building up in your blood, and keeps the plumbing of your blood vessels moving by making the contents less sticky. Drug companies are even trying to figure out what it is in the oil that’s responsible for these outcomes so that they can manufacture a medication to replicate these benefits.
Of course as I always advocate, why not just eat the stuff because it’s so delicious, so cost effective, and so natural?
Olive oil contains high amounts of a specific type of fat called “monounsaturated” fat. This type of fat is also found in avocados and nuts like almonds, and it is a “healthy fat” that your body uses and needs. Olive oil also contains substances called phenolic compounds and oleic acid. It seems as if these compounds are at least partly responsible for the health promoting effects of olive oil. Phenolic compounds and oleic acids are found in greatest amounts in extra virgin olive oil. Different types of olive oils have different flavors and different amounts of these wonderful substances. It makes sense to incorporate a variety of olive oils into your diet.
Fairway Market has perhaps the most mind-blowing EVOO variety anywhere of literally dozens-upon-dozens of choice olive oils from all around the world. Make it a point to indulge and sampling the selections and flavors. It may surprise you to learn that they are as diverse and interesting to taste as are fine wines!
TELL US: What are some of your favorite recipes to use with olive oil?