AT FORTY FIVE MAGAZINE /06 F E A T U R E S The Truth About Olive Oil / BY SHERRY KALLERGIS Do you know about the healing properties of olive oil? It has antiaging properties that make it perfect for the skin. It contains antioxidants from vitamin E and K. It is good for the hair because it is monounsaturated fat. Hair can absorb this type of fat, so it helps retain hydration. A key foundational piece of the Mediterranean Diet, olive oil is rich in nutrients, but it also has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Since inflammation is the root cause of many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis research suggests that olive oil can reduce levels of C- reative protein (CRP). A fascinating fact is that 3.4 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil equates to 10% of the adult ibuprofen dose. (1)
AT FORTY FIVE MAGAZINE /07 A little bit of history, olive trees have been growing in the Mediterranean since the 8th millennium BC. It was often used in religious rites. The main olive oil producers are Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Greece, and Turkey but other countries such as the United States and Australia also grow olives. What is the difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil? It is not different grades or types of olives but instead, it is the process used to extract the oil from the olives and the level of free oleic acid. Extra virgin olive oil, which is an unrefined oil, has a darker color and a more pungent aroma. The olives are picked at their optimum ripeness. There are no chemicals added and the temperature is not altered. It contains less than 1% oleic acid. The more expensive oil, often it is considered a finishing oil. Use it for dipping bread, as a dressing or sprinkled liberally over fresh and grilled vegetables. You do not want to cook with it, as raising the temperature defeats the purpose When looking for olive oil for cooking purposes you want to use regular or pure olive oil. The oleic acid measures between 3 and 4% and this is often a blend of coldpressed and processed oils. Host An Olive Oil Tasting At your next summer get-together, consider doing an olive oil tasting. You can buy three or four extra virgin olive oils. Just like fine wines, different regions of olive growing produce variations in flavor. It is so easy to set up a table with a variety of pieces of bread (hard and soft), soft cheeses like goat cheese, roasted veggies, fresh or dried figs, and other fruits. Use small saucers or cups to pour out the oils and give everyone a small notepad to keep track of their tastings. Paired with wines, you and your guests will have a wonderful time ranking the oils. Your taste buds will thank you.
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