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Healthy Eating by Shelby Shelby

Olive Oil Facts

 

Olive oil is widely considered one of the healthiest oils to use. Olive oil is the main oil used in the Mediterranean diet which has been found to improve heart health and reduce diabetes. One major reason olive oil is considered a healthy oil is the type of fat it provides. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats have been found to lower bad cholesterol levels when they replaced heart-unhealthy oils, like saturated (solid) fats, in your diet. Olive oil also provides antioxidants in the form of vitamin E and polyphenols that help reduce inflammation and damage in the body.

Olive oil can be confusing to buy with the many different labels: extra virgin olive oil, pure olive oil, etc. As a rule, extra virgin olive oil is less refined and is best to use in dishes that will not be heated to high temperatures. This is because less refined olive oil has a low smoke point and breaks down when heated. Great ways to use extra virgin olive oil include salad dressings, dipping bread, or finishing a soup, pizza, or salad. More refined olive oils (those without the extra virgin label) may better withstand high temperatures and can be used in sautéing and roasting.

Try this tasty olive oil-based Italian salad dressing:

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1.5 Tbsp Dijon-style mustard

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon dried basil

Pinch of dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Blend together and serve.

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