Superfoods: Olive Oil
A 16 week look at Superfoods
This Week’s Featured Superfood: Olive Oil
Olive oil has been used for thousands of years and is at the heart of the well researched Mediterranean Diet, which is a heart healthy, longe life way of eating. Though olive oil contains almost no vitamins or minerals it is still considered a superfood due to the tremendous amount of health benefits. Olive is a mono-unsaturated fat, an Omega-6 fat, and though beneficial keep in mind it is calorically dense and should be used in moderation.
Olive is what we call a “right fat”, if you aren’t using olive oil it might be time for an oil change!
- The oldest Olive tree in the world is over 5000 years old and still produces fruit, it is on the island of Crete
- The average lifespan for an Olive tree is 500 years
- In 1774 Thomas Jefferson planted 1500 Olive stones at Monticello, but they never yielded as the climate was unfavorable
- Thomas Jefferson said that the Olive tree contributes the most to the happiness of mankind.
- The smoke point is 365 f
- For frying use light olive oil
- For medium heat it is ok to use extra virgin olive oil
- For dressings and no heat use extra virgin olive oil for more flavor
What’s in it for me?
- Extra Virgin olive oil is the most nutrient dense of the olive oils
- Those who consume primarily olive oil and Omega-3 oils have lower blood pressure
- Regular, moderate consumption of olive oil reduces inflammation
- Studies show regular, moderate consumption of olive oil to have anti-cancer properties
- Lowers LDL
- Raises HDL
- Keep the lining of the arteries smooth
- Regular, moderate consumption is proven to reduce the risk of heart disease
- Olive oil is rich in polyphenols which is the basis for many of the health benefits
- Protects the lower digestive tract
- Rich with antioxidants
- Rich in Vitamin E which protects against pollutants, PMS, eye disorders, Alzheimer’s and Diabetes
- Rich in Vitamin K which is key in regulating normal blood clotting, and may be helpful for bone health and reduce bone loss
- Olive oil can increase feelings of satiety and fullness
- Helps create more regular stools
- A study in the American Journal of Nutrition found that just smelling olive oil helped in weight loss!
Learn more about olive oil at the California Olive Oil Council
Canal House Classic House Vinaigrette, I like to substitute balsamic vinegar or flavored Balsamic for variety
Orange Olive Oil Cake (for a treat)
One of our favorite ways to consume olive oil is with a fresh-baked whole grain bread and dip it right into the oil. Yum!
What is a Superfood?
A superfood is defined as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being – Mcmillian Dictionary.
Dr. William Sears, in his book Prime Time Health, describes Superfoods as:
- Nutrient Dense
- Nutrients that have proven benefits
- Made by nature, not a factory
- Taste good & satisfying
- May be able to be prepared in a variety of ways
- Contains no ingredients harmful to health
While we receive vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fats from our foods, some foods have been proven to provide extra health benefits, these foods are the superfoods. They have properties that may be anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and anti-Alzheimer, lower highs, and raise lows in our body.
Let’s be clear, when I say superfood I do not mean magical foods that cure-all, nor do I mean a diet consisting of one food, like the old “Grapefruit Diet”. The truth is, that these foods work best when part of a healthy, whole food, plant-based diet full of variety and by diet I mean lifestyle eating habits, not a short-term solution. Just eat food that rots, but eat it before it does!
Sears, William MD, Sears, Martha, RN – Prime-Time Health 2010 Little Brown and Company
DeWitt, Dave, The Founding Foodies, 2010, Sourcebooks