EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL FOR FLAVOUR AND HEALTH
Marnie gives us the lowdown on extra virgin olive oil for good health and delicious Mediterranean style dishes .
You ’ ve probably heard about extra virgin olive oil and the Mediterranean diet . This way of eating is one of the most studied and highly recommended in the world – and for good reason . In countries around the Mediterranean Sea such as France , Greece , Italy , Morocco and Spain , the traditional dietary pattern involves lots of fresh fruit , grains and legumes ( beans , peas and lentils ), nuts and vegetables . Highly processed foods are uncommon , with most foods being home-cooked with lashings of olive oil and enjoyed with friends and family .
The cuisine and the active lifestyle led by those living a traditional Mediterranean lifestyle are a large part of the long , healthy and happy lives these countries are famous for .
Want to eat like a Mediterranean ? One great way is to embrace extra virgin olive oil in your food preparation , cooking and serving . The high content of antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil helps to protect us against chronic diseases . Locally grown , high quality oils have been shown to have a superior nutrition profile .
Extra virgin olive oil isn ’ t just about health , it ’ s also about the flavour , texture and satisfaction experienced associated with meals . If you ’ re not used to using olive oil liberally , here are some mouth-watering suggestions for inspiration :
} drizzle extra virgin olive oil on vegetables and add fresh or dried herbs and spices before roasting or grilling ;
} use extra virgin olive oil for all your salad dressings ;
} shallow fry chips , fish , fritters and schnitzels with extra virgin olive oil ;
} dress cooked vegetables with extra virgin olive oil , lemon juice and seasoning before serving ;
} try Kelsey ’ s amazing salsa verde recipe ( page 15 );
} massage extra virgin olive oil into kale leaves and season , then bake for 15 minutes to make crispy kale chips ;
} use mild-flavoured extra virgin olive oil in baking to replace butter or other oils ; } make a really simple dip using cannellini beans , chickpeas or
broad beans , blended with extra virgin olive oil , garlic , lemon juice , salt and pepper ;
} make a delicious pesto with fresh summer basil , pine nuts , parmesan cheese , salt and pepper ;
} buy flavoured extra virgin olive oil infused with truffles , herbs or garlic as a fantastic gift for the festive season .
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL ISN ’ T JUST ABOUT HEALTH , IT ’ S ALSO ABOUT THE FLAVOUR , TEXTURE AND SATISFACTION .
YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE 19