In the news recently is some research that many of us may have already suspected, consuming the typical Mediterranean Diet can lower one’s risk of heart-related issues, including heart attack, stroke, or heart disease. One big component of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil, a rich fat that is monounsaturated and found to help lower cholesterol and control insulin levels. Scientists are now researching even more benefits of olive oil, such as positive effects on both bone and digestive health.
Before you go gun-ho on the Mediterranean diet and start using olive oil on everything in sight, you should know a few things that not many people know. Not all olive oil is created equal, and how it is treated before consumed can make a big difference in our health.
Did you know that light and heat can destroy the benefits of olive oil. It can change the chemical composition of some of the compounds through oxidation. When we purchase our olive oil, we want to make sure to choose a brand that comes in dark green glass or plastic to protect it from the light. The olive oil will last longer this way and be healthier.
I also mentioned heat being an issue for olive oil. Protect it by storing it properly, in an area that is free of heat and sunlight. Storing it next to the stove or oven, for example, or on a windowsill is not a good idea.
Properly stored, a bottle of olive oil should last approximately a year. After that, the health benefits, as well as the taste, may decrease. Be sure to date your olive oil if it doesn’t already have a best buy date listed.
Another thing you should know is that the United States, unlike Europe, does not have strict regulations for olive oil. This means that some unscrupulous companies may taint a low-quality oil with artificial coloring to pass it off as high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, the type that is the most complete for health benefits. And health is what the Mediterranean diet is all about.