We know that drowning our veggies and lean meats in dressings and other condiments loaded with trans fats does not make for a healthy meal or for a healthy heart. However, drizzling a little extra virgin olive oil on your meat of choice or mixing it with some balsamic vinegar for your salad can work wonders for your taste buds and for your heart health.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil is known for its heart healthy effects. In fact, olive oil has the largest amount of monounsaturated fatty acids out of any other oil on earth.
While the oleates in the oil promote healthy bones, the vitamins E, K, squalene and polyphenols in the oil all work to promote healthy blood circulation and overall health. The pro-active antioxidants in the oil work all around the body to dismantle free radicals.
Finding the Right Oil
When you go to shop for olive oil, you’ll most likely be greeted with a hailstorm of seductive-sounding labels: “virgin,” “extra virgin,” “imported from Italy,” and “refined.” What’s the best oil for your buck?
Made by extracting and crushing olives, oil is classified by how it’s been produced, by its flavor and by its chemistry. The less the oil is handled and the closer it is to its natural state, the better the oil. For example, the highest quality oil is extra virgin, which has managed to maintain its high acidity and antioxidant level. The lowest quality of olive oil is refined, where the oil has been chemically treated from its virgin state to neutralize strong acidic tastes … destroying its nutritional beauty in the process. In fact, half of the oil from the Mediterranean is of such poor quality that it must be refined in order to be edible.
The Extra Virgin Hokum
Because extra virgin is the highest quality oil, many American manufacturers, unbridled by labeling laws, label their oil “extra virgin” regardless of quality. True Extra Virgin olive oil is difficult to make, requiring a very expensive process, so best believe the four dollar bottle of “extra virgin” oil is “baloney.” The sad reality is many manufacturers add a small percentage of extra virgin olive oil to enhance the flavor of a batch of canola oil, slap some olives on the label and call it “extra virgin.”
Internationally, however, standards are much stricter and require that all olive oils carrying the “Extra Virgin” label are subject to a chemical and sensory analysis. Much like wine tasters, there are olive oil connoisseurs with taste buds trained to spot defects in oil such as muddy, winey, musty or even rancid aftertastes. Positive tasting oils are described as tasting fruity, bitter or even pungent.
More information about Olive Oil as well as Fish Oil from Dr. Barry Sears can be found at: [http://www.ultrafishoil.com/oliveoil.html] Dr. Sears is the author of the book “The Omega Rx Zone: Miracle of the New High Dose Fish Oil”