H1: The Importance Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil In The Mediterranean Diet
You might be familiar with the food pyramid, but did you know that the food pyramid was modeled based on the Mediterranean diet? Yes, that well-known food pyramid image – where you find the foods that you need to consume the most at the bottom and the foods you need to consume the least at the top – is heavily influenced by the diet of people from Southern Italy and Crete in the 1960’s, thus its name.
One of the things that you might notice about the Mediterranean diet is that olive oil makes up one of its basic components. It is featured on the bottom part of the food pyramid. Thus, it is one of the food items that you need to consume in larger amounts.
H2: Why Olive Oil is a “Good Fat”
When it comes to consuming fats, it is not so much the amount of fat that you eat that is important, but rather, the type of fat. You need to consume more “good fats” than “bad fats”. Bad fats are saturated fats and can be found from animal sources such as lard from pigs and tallow from cows. Good fats, on the other hand, are usually those that you can get from oily fish such as salmon, or plants such as avocado and olives.
Good fats are unsaturated fats, and they are known to have several health benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels, decreasing the risk for cardiovascular disease, and reducing inflammation in the body. Olive oil is an example of unsaturated fats, and extra virgin olive oil is the best type.
H2: What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
When producers make olive oil from fresh olives, the olives will go through several rounds of pressing. The first oil-producing during the pressing is the extra virgin olive oil. It is critical that there is no heat involved during the pressing process to ensure that you get the full flavor and aroma of the olive oil. This is the reason why you’ll find the term “cold-pressed” on extra virgin olive oil labels.
Since the pressing process takes a lot of time and manual labor, extra virgin olive oil is usually the most expensive type of olive oil. However, you can be guaranteed that you’re getting the genuine article because the International Olive Oil Council certifies extra virgin olive oil, which is only done for this type of olive oil.
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H2: How is It Used in Mediterranean diets?
Extra virgin olive oil has a distinct flavor and aroma. It has a grassy and peppery flavor, as well as a fruity scent. These rich flavors and aromas contribute a lot to Mediterranean cooking and help elevate dishes to a new level!
Extra virgin olive oil is best used for dips, dressings, and drizzling on top of cooked items for that additional grassy-peppery taste. It’s not recommended to use this kind of olive oil for frying and sautéing, since you won’t be able to enjoy the delicious flavors!
Extra virgin olive oil is central to the Mediterranean diet for two reasons. First, it is considered to be a healthy fat, and it has numerous health benefits from heart health, lowering blood pressure, and weight control. Second, it is a delicious ingredient in many Mediterranean recipes because of its distinct taste and aroma. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Mediterranean recipe that doesn’t use this ingredient. Whether you use it as a dip, dressing, or a drizzle, extra virgin olive oil is delicious, healthy, and worth every penny.