Olive oil has been around a long time. According to www.olivesource.com, the olive tree is one of the oldest cultivated trees on earth. This bountiful tree originated in the Iran, Syria and Palestinian region of the Mediterranean over 6,000 years ago. It wasn’t until a few hundred years ago, however, that the olive tree made its way out of the Mediterranean. Today, it is just about everywhere and its popularity is growing.
You can find olive oil in prepared foods on grocery store shelves, in skin care products and even in pet food. Olive Bars are popping up in grocery stores and shopping malls across America, too, where you can get the fruit of the tree that is often soaking in its own oil.
Olive oil has been labeled by those in the nutrition industry as a, “good fat.” This could be the basis of the new mantra, “fat is not bad for you,” that has made its way around the web over the past few years. Unlike vegetable oil or canola oil, olive oil contains more of the kinds of fats that have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA’s), and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA’s)
According to the Mayo Clinic, it has also been shown to help control blood sugar and insulin levels. This is good stuff!
And it just keeps getting better…
The latest studies are out and they indicate that people whose diets are high in olive oil have the benefit of cutting breast cancer risk by 62%!
There are many great places on the web where you can get all the “why’s” and “how’s” (see below), but for most of us we just need some strategies to get more of this fabulous, affordable and attainable oil into our diets. Try these tips for replacing your current oils with olive oil:
- Salad Dressing – choose olive oil based dressings.
- Roasting or Grilling Vegetables – drizzle the oil over the vegetables and on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.
- Popcorn – replace both your heating oil and butter topping with olive oil.
- Roasting Meat – try coating the bottom of the pan or rack with olive oil to prevent the meat from sticking.
- Searing Meat.
With all of the benefits of this flavorful oil it is worth a try to get more of it into your diet. Happy cooking and eating!