Extra Virgin Olive Oil, henceforth referred to as EVOO. Either it’s a staple in your diet or you’ve got some lying around in a cupboard for the occasional tablespoon or two when a recipe calls for it. Whether you’ve heard good things or bad things about it, the point is, you’ve heard of it. We want to clear up some of the confusion surrounding EVOO— we use it extensively, and we’ve also done our research. We’re hoping that by reading this, you’ll come to know, love and understand the wonders of EVOO— if you don’t already.
Studies have shown that regions where a Mediterranean diet is followed have significantly fewer cases of heart disease, cancer, and obesity. The key ingredient in this diet? You guessed it. EVOO. Of course, there are many other factors in this diet, so to say that olive oil is the sole reason for a healthy lifestyle in these regions would be naïve. But considering the huge amounts of EVOO consumed here and the research done on the matter, there does seem to be a link between healthy hearts and this “wonder oil”.
What does “Extra Virgin” mean, and how is it different from its non-Extra Virgin counterparts? Contrary to popular belief, all “Extra Virgin” means in reference to olive oils is that it was pressed through mechanical means rather than chemical means. Acidity is also a factor in the classification of olive oils— EVOO has acidity levels lower than .08%. It’s also tasted before classification to ensure quality. Another important distinction between EVOO and other classifications of olive oil is that EVOO is unrefined, meaning that it hasn’t been treated for any flaws within the oil itself. Refining olive oil might remove flaws, but it also removes important antioxidants that make olive oil so healthy in the first place. If you want a quality olive oil with no added chemicals, we recommend going Extra-Virgin.
Isn’t olive oil high in fat? Yes. It is. It’s high in GOOD fats, called monounsaturated fatty acids (but they prefer to be called MUFAs). MUFAs are the key heart-healthy factor in the Mediterranean diet that we mentioned earlier! Without making this a biology class, MUFAs have tons of health benefits that lower risk factors for heart disease, while other kinds of fats increase your risk. Replacing ingredients such as butter or margarine that have trans fats and other kinds of fats that clog arteries and raise cholesterol with EVOO can be a super easy way to improve your health with very little effort. Of course, you won’t see any changes overnight, but you’re taking one step closer to a healthier lifestyle. Just make sure you’re eating foods that are high in MUFAs instead of those high in other fats, not in addition to them. And remember, everything in moderation!
What else does it do? Olive oil is literally magical. It does everything. Okay, not everything, but it really does work wonders. First, it works as an anti-inflammatory. Second, it’s a natural lubricant and moisturizer, making it great for hair, skin and nails— there are tons of people who use it regularly as a beauty product, making hair masks or skin moisturizers using olive oil as the base ingredient. You can even use it as shaving cream. Let us know if you dream up any other uses for EVOO— we’d love to hear them!
So, if you’re not using EVOO regularly, you should be— it’s great for you! And you can find olive oil in all forms right here at Roma’s We’ll see you soon!