15 July 2008
Olive Oil - Have a Healthy Heart
The Mediterranean diet… the healthiest natural diet in the world? Well, the Andalusians certainly do know about healthy eating, you won’t find any giant multi chain supermarkets in rural areas, many local villagers grow their own produce in the garden or own a plot of irrigated land where in the early summer months is awash with home grown organic produce. Olive oil: no table in any tapas bar or restaurant is without olive oil, in fact what you get is salt, olive oil and sherry vinegar
Olive oil is drizzled over almost every dish, salads, ham, toast etc etc, it is also used to cook with to fry potatoes, fritters and whole range of other crispy delights.
The fact that olive oil is so highly regarded in the Mediterranean and consumed in vast quantities could be one of the main reasons why this diet has gained the enviable reputation as one of the healthiest in the world. One major factor contributing to this is that high quality extra virgin oils are consumed “raw” or unheated thus maintaining all the properties which have been suggested can help prevent heart disease and certain cancers. Even heated, although some properties deteriorate the oil is still considered a healthy alternative to other edible oils and cooking fats.
Quality extra virgin olive oil contains a high percentage of monounsaturated acids or “oleic acid” as well as other amounts of antioxidants. It has also been suggested that olive oil contains anti-inflammatory properties which can aid in conditions such as arthritis and other conditions i.e.: sports injuries.
Benefits of olive oil are continuing to be recognised with a huge interest coming from the Japanese market. Indeed, “Castrilena” organic olive oil is used in Japan as an antioxidant where oil is consumed in its raw form as part of a daily routine, even used on the skin, a practice dating back to ancient Greek times, it has been suggested that a daily intake of olive oil can be a natural pain reliever.
As with many of natures beneficial products, take for example Aloe Vera “natures liquid bandage” olive oil is a true example of how a healthy diet can be achieved, with so many beneficial properties extra virgin olive oil should be on every table, and why not? – Not only is it good for you and your heart but probably one of the most palatable natural foods available. For most Southern Europeans olive oil is considered part of the everyday diet and with the Spanish, Greeks and Italians most famous for quality production is it any wonder why these countries have a lower rate of heart disease compared to some Northern EU countries? Of course the humble olive just doesn’t produce such a fine oil… the fruit itself is the ultimate healthy tapa which is also a tremendously healthy snack alternative. As with the above mentioned Aloe Vera olive oil is now finding its way into cosmetics such as soaps and treatments as well as being highly regarded as the one of the worlds top massage oils.
Olive oil, it appears, can do no wrong. Good for the heart, beneficial for a variety of ailments, the perfect tapa and a healthy ingredient in almost every meal.
Is your extra virgin oil on the table yet?