olive-oilBefore discussing green gold filled, most prized oil in feeding a large part of the population, want to talk a little about its history and how it came to be so highly prized oil in the modern diet for its nutritional properties and excellent flavor.

The olive tree is native to Asia Minor and spread throughout Iran, Syria, and other Mediterranean over 6000 years ago. It is one of the oldest cultivated trees in the world, since before it was created writing. The Phoenicians took him to other regions of the Mediterranean as well as Africa and southern Europe. It has been found in Egyptian tombs dating from 2000 BC The olive culture was expanded with the Greeks and Romans. Today is considered the green gold, one of the most healthy and delicious edible oils.

There are foods that give us plus nutrients, have additional capabilities to improve our health and prevent disease. These foods are known as “functional foods” … and guess what … olive oil is one of them. ”

The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world. It is based on plenty of vegetables and fruits, cereals, fresh fish high in omega 3, olive oil and red wine. We have seen that the people of this region has a higher life expectancy than other western regions, i.e. its population is very long-lived. Studies have shown that one of the most important elements in this diet is olive oil. Consider the benefits of eating this wonderful product:

1-It has the ability to protect the heart because it contains poly-phenols, natural substances with high antioxidant potential, which prevent our arteries cells suffer damage by free radicals. This protects both the tissue and also prevents genetic damage so it is a protective factor against cancer.

2- It has potent anti-inflammatory capacity by their poly-phenol content. Inflammation is not always evident to the naked eye, but can identify blood level of substances which are released and can harm our health. Olive oil, especially the “extra virgin” reduces the inflammation. It is very recommended to buy the extra virgin olive oil and cold pressed, because as we will see later heat can damage its extraordinary nutritional properties.

3- Besides having omega 9 and poly-phenols, containing other antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin E  which help to maintain skin health.

4- Olive oil has the best combination of fatty acids. Fatty acids are the simplest form in which it can split oil, say that fatty acids are the building blocks of oils. All oils have a combination of monounsaturated fatty acids (omega 9 or oleic) and polyunsaturated, the former being extremely beneficial. Olive oil contains 75% oleic fatty acid whereas sunflower oil is only 15%. This means that they are high in omega 9, this oil can help to reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol). It also helps to lower blood pressure through very interesting cellular mechanisms.

5- Cancer Prevention. In scientific studies with this oil, cancer studies have been numerous, and conclusions were staggering, showing that has the ability to reduce the risk of breast cancer of the respiratory tract, digestive tract and high cancer colon.

6- Through extensive research, we have identified many components beneficial and difficult to match as simple phenols, terpenes, flavones, anthocyanins, lignans, etc.. All of which are potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. We have seen that include 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day can achieve significant anti-inflammatory effects by preventing tissue damage and help stop premature aging.

7-Improves brain function. Benefits have been achieved in older adults when switching to a Mediterranean style diet.

Best of all is the extra virgin oil. It is recommended for use in “raw” to dress our salads and various cooked foods.olive-oil-with-salad

Is it warm? No oil producers handle different points “fumed” for their oils, i.e. the temperature at which a hot oil begins to produce smoke. Point oils are high fumed making them safe to heat to high temperatures, while the olive oil does not preserve its unique nutrients (especially poly-phenols) if heated. Oxidation of these beneficial substances and the formation of acrylic amide, occurring at temperatures of 148 ° C, so that heat is not recommended.

Here is a recipe for dressing. It is ideal for salads,

Mediterranean Dressing:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

Sea salt and pepper to taste.

Mix these ingredients and garnishes your favorite salads.

I recommend you do a mixture of many types of lettuces, peppers, shredded carrots, seeds (walnuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, almonds) and any other vegetables that you like and pair it with your favorite dressing with olive oil. It’s super nutritious and delicious.