Extra virgin olive oil has become a part of the culture in this country over the last decade or so simply because our approach to food has changed quite a bit in that time. Even food television has become a part of what we view as “must-see” programming. While certain TV chefs might be given credit for making extra virgin olive oil popular due to the almost sing-song feel of the acronym “EVOO”, it must be noted that the product has stood on its own for a very long time.
While it can be exciting to try something new at home, there are always the moments when you’re not quite sure where to start. Olive oil, though an “old world” product, can be daunting simply because Westernized cooks aren’t familiar with it. Rather than scratch your head about what extra virgin olive oil actually brings to the table or whether it’s right for you, here are a few things to know about this unctuous elixir:
- Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
- Helps with Brain Health
- Lowers Risk of Osteoporosis
- Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- Helps in Fighting the Onset of Obesity
- Lowers Risk of Stroke
A cursory look at these advantages indicates that extra virgin olive oil is a benefit to one’s entire body, both inside and out. However, dietitians advise that when making any major changes to one’s diet, it’s important to talk to your doctor to see if these changes are right for you.
The health benefits alone make extra virgin olive oil a nearly miraculous product, which has also been one of the main reasons for the uptick in its popularity. Unfortunately, as things get popular, so do misconceptions and misinformation. EVOO is certainly not above these same problems. If you’re thinking about making it a more significant part of your diet, you may want to keep the following in mind:
Quality Can’t Be Assessed by Sight – Many people are under the impression that you can judge the quality of an olive oil simply by its color, and this just isn’t the case. Color can vary based on where it was made, how it was grown, and what type of olives were used.
Look for Dates – “Best by” dating may not be the information you want. You want to know when the product was processed such as a milling and bottling date. Experts note that if storage conditions are ideal, a good quality extra virgin olive oil can last up to two years from the bottling date. Consuming sooner rather than later is also a good way to go.
Extra virgin olive oil is certainly an ingredient that, while fairly simple in nature, carries a tremendous amount of clout in the culinary world. This is no surprise given the plethora of health benefits it carries, but for those of us looking to spice things up in the kitchen, it’s quite the handy multi-tool.