Olive oil generally figures in most diets nowadays, especially those that are keen on promoting a healthy lifestyle, shedding some fats, and keeping the pounds off. Healthy and delicious olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet too, so if you’re thinking of trying the diet yourself, expect to have olive oil in most of your meals.
Luckily, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t mean tasteless food and unappetizing meals. There’s actually a large selection of yummy Mediterranean eats that are prepared using olive oil. Plus, adding a healthy dose of olive into your daily diet isn’t hard to do—you can start by simply switching your cooking oil with olive oil!
Origins of Olive Oil
The olive tree is considered sacred by the Mediterranean people for millennia and yet, no one knows precisely where it originated.
Records show that the practice of cultivating it started in the Near East, then it slowly spread westward across the Mediterranean Sea. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Phoenicians played a big part in adopting the olive into their own culture and introducing it to those they conquered or traded with. Olive oil figured heavily in the daily health and beauty practices of these civilizations that when the Roman Empire took hold of the Mediterranean, olive oil became one of the most prized commodities of the ancient world.
As for the Western world, the appreciation for olive oil was brought by the Portuguese and Spanish. Franciscan missionaries were already establishing olive groves in California in the latter part of the 18th century, discovering that wherever grapes thrived, olive trees seemed to thrive too.
Benefits of Healthy and Delicious Olive Oil
Here are some awesome benefits of olive oil that might finally convince you to include it in your everyday meals or maybe even give the Mediterranean diet a chance.
- About 73% of olive oil is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat known to reduce inflammation and possess beneficial effects on cancer-related genes.
- Olive oil is loaded with powerful, biologically active antioxidants that help promote heart health.
- Studies show that olive oil is the sole source of monounsaturated fat that’s linked with lower risks of stroke.
- Olive oil helps lower blood pressure.
- Excessive amounts of fat are often associated with weight gain; research found that olive oil is a healthy kind of fat that doesn’t cause increased weight.
- One of the key characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of beta-amyloid plaques. Olive oil helps prevent the growth of these plaques and removes them from brain cells.
- Olive oil improves blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, thus offering protection against Type 2 diabetes.
- Olive oil supplements have been found to have positive effects on inflammatory markers as well as oxidative stress among people with rheumatoid arthritis. When taken in conjunction with fish oil, olive oil strengthens handgrip and helps in alleviating joint pain and morning stiffness.
However, take note that like most things in excess, too much olive oil can be bad for the body as well. Hence, watch your consumption and make sure to take olive oil in moderation.
If you want to get a taste of delicious dishes with olive oil, drop by HummusBowls for lunch or dinner. Most items on our menu are prepared with olive oil and whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat-lover, we have something for you. You can find us in Spring Valley, Summerlin, and Henderson, so if you’re ever in Las Vegas, come by and see how delicious healthy food can be.