Nutritional expert Ancer Keys first touted the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in the 1960’s. Several studies had indicated that those living in Spain, Italy and Greece experienced a significantly lower incidence of disease and their diet was believed to be largely responsible. Along with fish, fruits and vegetables, central to the diet was the daily consumption of olive oil.  

Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat with 0% cholesterol, but this is not its only boon. A collaborative study was just completed at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology in Granada which looked at the polyphenols in the oil and their effect upon degenerative diseases.

Polyphenols act to scavenge the free radicals responsible for premature aging, cancer and other degenerative conditions. They have also been recently found to increase the body’s levels of vitamin E and to improve cardiovascular health. Olive oil is particularly rich in these natural antioxidants.  

I use olive oil for all of my low to medium temperature cooking. I also make homemade salad dressings with the oil and create delicious herbal dipping oils for bread. If you haven’t yet stocked your kitchen with this fabulous food, I highly recommend you do so. Not only will your health benefit, but you will discover a world of wonderful flavors!

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