Extra Virgin Olive Oil Health Benefits | Purity Counts!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil health benefits have long been touted. Particularly in promoting heart health. But this topic never really grabbed my attention.
I’ve always been someone who maintains a strenuous level of cardio conditioning. As a lifestyle, I’m involved in cycling, snowboarding, swimming, and just about any other activity that gets my heart rate up. I have always placed a high priority on keeping a healthy cardio system. But not until after returning home from a three-week Athens trip which lead to a Mediterranean venture throughout the Peloponnesus Island of Greece did I consider such a discussion involving extra virgin olive oil health benefits.
After just one week back in the States, the first thing I quickly found myself missing was the food. While there, my energy level had increased and I had felt so much more in balance both physically and emotionally than I could ever recall. But within just a few days of return home to the states, I felt myself sliding back to where I was before taking this trip. So I had to ask myself what was it that affected this noticeable change? The food supply in Greece seemed to give me this natural high from a changed diet over such a short time.
If you have never had the opportunity to visit Greece, or for that matter, anywhere in the Mediterranean region, it’s hard to convey the incredible sensation your taste buds experience. A dietary intake of fresh Mediterranean cuisine found nowhere else in the world is an exhilarating experience to say the least! The freshness of what your palette experiences is simply un-duplicate-able outside of the Mediterranean region itself!
Vital Health Benefits Of “Extra-Virgin” Olive Oil
According to Mayo Clinic research, extra virgin olive oil health benefits come from the fact that olive oil contains a high content type of fat known as monounsaturated fat. More commonly called MUFAs, this healthy fat or good cholesterol identified as HDL is also found in fatty fish, avocados, and some nuts. MUFA’s help control insulin levels and lower bad cholesterol or LDL levels. But what may set extra virgin olive oil health benefits apart from other food sources is the fact that olive oil is also full of polyphenols. An antioxidant type that contributes to protecting your cells from damage. It’s interesting to note that certain polyphenols also carry certain anti-inflammatory properties as well. These olive oil properties have been found to help with arthritic joint and digestive health issues.
Extra virgin olive oil health benefits may also include a defense against cancer. Other research is looking into its potential for improving both cognitive and memory function. But the key to performance, as is with any product, is the purity of the product.
Reporter Tom Mueller wrote a book on the subject of purity. In his New York Times best seller Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil revealed a world of deception. Deception of passing off supposed extra virgin olive oil to the American consumer. His book exposes the practice of promoting certain olive oil products filled with low quality oils. These oils are injected with artificial coloring. Thus, these products are then passed off as extra virgin. The book labels the consumer as the biggest loser to this deceptive practice. They do not actually experience “that wonderful cocktail of anti-inflammatories and antioxidants” that pure, extra virgin olive oil provides.
As stated in the book, the United States does not have strict regulations. Not like the laws that are in place throughout Europe. Regulations that monitor the use of an “extra virgin” label. Because of this fact, it is imperative for you to do your homework at securing purity. Do not blindly trust a product that touts the “extra virgin” label. Trusting your local health food retailer isn’t necessarily a guarantee against finding an impure impostor either. Not all olive oil products are screened for impurities before they are displayed on shelves. But there are retailers who guarantee purity of the extra virgin product line they promote.