Olive oil is a dreamy oil, for sure. You can eat it, cook with it, and use it on your skin and hair. On top of all of this awesome~ness, the health benefits reign a-plenty!

Olive oil has been proven to be fantastic for cardiovascular health. Studies have shown time and time again that this magnificent oil has the ability to diminish the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and decrease blood pressure. It has also been beneficial for those dealing with type 2 diabetes, as well as, those interested in NOT acquiring the disease. Additionally, olive oil has had significant effects on cancer prevention (especially, the digestive tract) due to those amazingly, helpful antioxidants that fight the battle against free radicals. Not to mention, the anti-inflammatory properties assist in the combat against all cancers and disease. Other advantages of this delicate and delicious oil is its contribution to bone health, as well as, its cognitive benefits. According to www.whfoods.com, olive oil is capable of improving "visual memory and verbal fluency." So, what are we waiting for??

Well, some of you might need a little more information, right? Navigating the market shelves full of this precious oil does offer us many options which often equals a few questions such as: Which kind of olive oil shall I buy? Why? What's the difference? Personally, I always choose Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). I spend the extra few bucks for this healthy, monosaturated fat. EVOO has higher amounts of nutrients which means more health benefits! Oh, the quest for optimum nutrition! In simplest terms, EVOO requires the "cream of the crop" when it comes to the olives. Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oils (choice #2 after EVOO) are unrefined which means that they, literally, extract the oil and bottle it. It does not undergo any chemical refining process. Olive oils that are labeled as Pure Olive Oil or Olive Oil are refined. Often, it is because these particular oils are not derived from the tastiest olives and their flavor needs to be masked in order to produce an edible product. This is accomplished by a process using solvents and high heat. The folks over at www.oliveoilsource.com state, "Many countries deem it unfit for human consumption due to poor flavor, not due to safety concerns."

After you have purchased your health- laden olive oil, make sure that you treat it right. Store it in a room temperature pantry or cupboard or in the fridge to keep it cool. If possible, buy oil that comes in a dark, green glass bottle or one that is made from materials that will protect it from light. Basically, keep in mind that "heat and light can damage the oil by creating oxidation, which changes the beneficial chemical compounds" (www.cnn.com).

The goal is to obtain all of the nutritious abundance that this oil has to offer. As mentioned above, heat can be a villain. Olive oil has a smoke point of approximately 200- 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When cooked and heated to higher temperatures, you are killing off all of the properties that make it beneficial for us. More importantly, when olive oil is heated past its smoke point it becomes a carcinogen. The oil becomes rancid, toxic, and void of nutrition. Better choices for high heat are coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, and, if you really need to get your fry on, then sunflower oil.

It's all about respect, right?? Love your food and it will love you right back. The season is here to enjoy EVOO on all of your favorite salads, drizzling it on steamed veggies, and whatever else your healthy heart desires. If these reasons aren't enough to sway you, check out http://www.robbinsfamilyfarm.com/101-olive-oil-benefits.

                                                                                                                           Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                           Stacy xo     


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