Why are high quality olive oils and balsamics important to us?
A few months ago we decided to eat those foods we felt were better for us. After being introduced to high quality olive oils and balsamics and reading literature about the health benefits of olive oil, we were hooked. We primarily follow a Mediterranean diet (including the wine). We’ve lost weight, take less medication and have reconnected with our former and younger energy level. Most importantly we enjoy the taste of the foods we now prepare. Almost all of our cooked foods that require an oil for either cooking properly or to add flavor are cooked in one of our olive oils. Our salads, vegetables and fruit desserts are topped with one of our balsamics. Just because one eats healthy, doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
What are the specific health benefits of extra virgin olive oil?
We’ve heard for years that EVOO is the heart healthy oil. How does it do this? The main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs are actually considered a healthy dietary fat. If your diet emphasizes unsaturated fats, such as MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), instead of saturated fats and trans fats, you may gain certain health benefits. MUFAs and PUFAs may help lower your risk of heart disease by improving related risk factors. For instance, MUFAs may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. MUFAs may also help normalize blood clotting. Some research shows that MUFAs may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes. A very recent study indicates that EVOO can act as an anti-inflammatory and its effects mimic a very popular anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, but without the side effects. In our own experience, those claims ring out to be true! We’ve also heard for years the heart benefits of red grapes and red wine. Balsamic vinegar retains many of the nutritional benefits of the grapes from which it is made. Balsamic is rich in minerals which are important to the heart and circulatory system–it is low in sodium, very low in saturated fat and has no cholesterol. Balsamic vinegar contains polyphenols, which are known anti-cancer agents.