Olive Oil: The Real Benefits of Olive Oil

Today, olive oil is the unsung hero of meals around the world. But extra-virgin olive oil did not make its first appearance in American kitchens before the 1980s. Back then, people were skeptical about the petroleum, convinced that it was only meant for a light drizzling on special occasions.

Since the 1980s, the price has dropped, making the beloved oil accessible and allowing Americans to use it more and more. But beware of strangely very low prices. Some"extra-virgin" olive oils on the shelves are blended with cheaper oils such as sunflower and canola that do not have the same health benefits as the real thing. Other olive oil products are colored with chlorophyll or beta carotene, faking out customers globally.

It doesn't help that labels are getting harder to interpret. The term"extra-virgin" (meaning the very first pressing), isn't as helpful now as goods have switched from presses to contemporary centrifuges. The European Union, where a great majority of the planet's oil is produced, has been making a great effort to enforce more transparent labeling. However, for now, the most reliable stamp of approval are the European Union's method of food certification on the bottle.

As soon as you find that jar, check for the date when it was made. Experts and manufacturers imply that if you're searching for the most yummy oil on the market, you reach for the freshest bottle. How fast these olives get from their tree into a cupboard determines more about the taste of your olive oil than anything else on the label. Since olives are a fruit, olive oil is perishable and starts to degrade as soon as it is exposed to oxygen. Once the jar is opened, it retains its peak flavor for only three to four weeks, so don't be afraid to use it up within the month.

In European countries, the average person consumes about 20 liters of olive oil each year while Americans undergo less than 1 liter. Olive oil has numerous health benefits that are supported by scientific research, so Americans should not be so shy to pour it with their elbow held .

Olive oil is filled with healthy monosaturated fats that reduce inflammation and lower amounts of cholesterol. Plus, it contains large amounts of antioxidants that reduce your risk of chronic diseases. In fact, olive oil has a lengthy resume of preventing ailments such as Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. And don't worry. Olive oil may have a high fat content, but studies reveal that it does not cause weight gain. In fact, the Mediterranean diet is full of olive oil and is one of the healthiest diets a person can follow.

So the next time you're at the supermarket, take an extra moment to read the label in your oil. As soon as you've found your perfect bottle, go ahead and pour on the good stuff. Because as long as it's the real thing, you will encounter some real benefits. Enjoy!