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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Olive Oil – Your best choice

Recently I was in the grocery store watching a couple trying to choose cooking oil.  They would pick up a bottle of oil, look at it, put it back and then pick up another bottle of oil.  They seemed totally mystified by the vast array of oils to choose from.   And it can be confusing.  But one cooking oil stands out as being the healthiest and that is Olive Oil. 
Which Olive Oil to Choose?
Choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil – a little pricier but a better choice for your health.  Or, as Rachel Ray calls it, EVOO.  EVOO is the least processed of the olive oils so it is richer in the polyphenols that are good for our health.  It is also higher in Omega-3’s and vitamin E.  Pass up the “light” olive oil.  It is not “light” in calories but is the most refined olive oil so not the one to choose for your health.  Also avoid “pure olive oil”.  Sounds good but it is also refined and not as good as EVOO.  So Rachel Ray gets it right. 
Why Olive Oil?  

  • Prevents heart disease  - it used to be that one chose oils high in polyunsaturated fats.  Now they recommend we choose oils high in monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil.  Researchers now call Olive Oil with its monounsaturated fats, the “Heart- Healing fat”.  (Prevent a Second Heart Attack Through Diet).  Olive oil helps lower your bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol), and helps raise your good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol).  The Mayo Clinic notes EVOO has greater cholesterol-lowering effects.  They recommend about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil a day, in place of other fats, for a heart-healthy effect.  (Cholesterol:  Top 5 foods to lower your numbers).
  • Reduce Your Cancer Risk – Greeks that ate up to 3 Tablespoons of olive oil a day as part of their overall diet, significantly reduced their risk of cancer.
  • Controls Blood Pressure – in addition to eating fruits and vegetables, it seems olive oil is important in controlling blood pressure. 
When to use olive oil?
Use EVOO in marinades, salad dressings, sauces, grilling, sautéing.  Some people don’t like to use olive oil when cooking at high temperatures because it seems to give foods a more intense flavor.  But it is safe to use EVOO up to 410 degreess Fahrenheit which covers the range needed for most cooking needs.
How many calories in olive oil?
Olive oil does have calories, and as a fat, a lot of calories.  One tablespoon has 120 calories.  So slathering olive oil on everything will greatly increase your calorie intake. Measure it when cooking and invest in an olive oil mister.
So the next time you are shopping for cooking oil, choose EVOO.

Image Source;  EVOO

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