Why You Should Embrace Olive Oil and Never Let Go
I grew up in Europe, where olive oil is as common as rain—well, maybe more so in the dry season! Olives and olive oil are an ancient tradition in the Mediterranean region; olives have been cultivated since pre-Biblical times. I use extra virgin olive oil for all my culinary needs, and I highly recommend that you do, too.
It’s not just that olive oil tastes great, although a good extra virgin olive oil certainly does. Ongoing research shows that olive oil is a key component of the remarkably healthful Mediterranean diet. Scientists think that some of the natural antioxidant polyphenol compounds in extra virgin olive oil may be responsible for its near-remarkable properties. Some of these compounds—which help give olive oil its subtle, fruity, complex flavor—have been shown to exert antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities in the body.
For instance, antioxidant compounds in extra virgin olive oil actually help modify the lining of our blood vessels. Most heart disease—still our number one killer—begins in this specialized and highly vulnerable tissue, known as the endothelium. Olive oil components are absorbed into the bloodstream and work to reverse inflammation, promote healthy endothelial function and reduce oxidative stress. Inflammation, oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction are the Big Three threats to longevity and wellness, so it’s easy to see that olive oil adds value to life.
López-Miranda J, Pérez-Jiménez F, Ros E, De Caterina R, Badimón L, Covas MI, et al. Olive oil and health: summary of the II international conference on olive oil and health consensus report, Jaén and Córdoba (Spain) 2008. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2010 May;20(4):284-94. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2009.12.007. Epub 2010 Mar 19.