Olive oils can be traced back thousands of years in the Mediterranean region. Egyptian regions considered it a medicine tonic, and it’s still prized today.
By Sue Knorr:
Olive oil’s beginnings can be traced back thousands of years in the Mediterranean region. Archaeological evidence shows that olives were being turned into olive oil by 6000 B.C. Ancient Egyptian rulers considered it a cure-all tonic, and it’s still prized today for its outstanding health benefits.
Considering olive oil’s esteemed status throughout history and the fact that it’s at the basis of the Mediterranean diet, it’s probably no surprise that it’s also highly recommended for the Zone Diet. You might be wondering, why olive oil? Let’s take a closer look at the important details.
Lower inflammation levels: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat
Monounsaturated fat should be your primary source of dietary fat because it has no adverse effects on insulin and hormonal responses. Eating monounsaturated fat is crucial for appetite control as well as for maintaining cardiac health. Monounsaturated fats, including olive oil, will not lower the “good” HDL cholesterol and may even raise it. Being a fruit oil as opposed to a seed oil, olive oil contains very little Omega-6 fats. Omega-6 fats are the culprit to avoid because they increase inflammation, which in turn, can accelerate chronic disease and cancer.
Optimize your health benefits: Extra virgin olive oil is a source of concentrated polyphenols
Polyphenols are a burgeoning field in nutrition. they are important for life, but cannot be synthesized by the human body. Dr. Sears believes that in a few years, polyphenols will be included in the category of essential nutrients. Learn more about them in his book, The Mediterranean Zone.
Taste the difference: Organic extra virgin olive oil from Italy provides optimal flavor
Not all olive oil is created equally. Historically, olive oil purity has been difficult to control in the marketplace. Olive oil adulteration goes back to the time of the Roman Empire and continues today. You may recall recently hearing in the news about oil labeled as 100% olive oil that is really a concoction of olive oil and various lesser quality vegetable oils. Olive oil made from the finest varieties of olives with the most health benefits come from Italy. Look for organic extra virgin olive oil that has been minimally processed.
These oils have usually been treated with kid gloves and have been extracted under the mildest conditions in order to prevent oxidation, retain optimal flavor characteristics, and remain rich in polyphenols. Price may be an indicator of a superior olive oil.
Expect to pay a little more for the best. Your health is worth it.
Try this easy taste test for good quality olive oil
Place a teaspoon of olive oil on the front of your tongue. It should taste like melted butter. This means the oil is very low in free fatty acids, which taste bitter. Then flip the olive oil to the back of your throat with your tongue. It should have a very peppery taste in your throat and also give you a strong urge to cough. This is from the polyphenols. The olive oil can only be considered high quality if it passes both tests. Sadly, about 98% of extra virgin olive oil sold in America fail to pass both tests. If yours doesn’t pass, try Dr. Sears’ Zone Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s an excellent all natural organic Italian olive oil. Once you’ve tasted an olive oil that passes both tests you’ll never go back. It’s that good.
One last tip
Use Zone olive oil for your salad dressings and to pour over warm foods after cooking.
Or just have a spoonful to maximize your health benefits!