Olive Oil & The Mediterranean Diet: The Sicilian Secret to Longevity

A velvety, luxurious coat of delicious fat coats your tongue, delivering a pungent and distinctively  green, peppery flavor to your taste buds. For a fleeting moment, you smell wild herbs and freshly cut grass. The light and undeniably elegant oil lingers for a moment, and is washed down by a fresh, slightly acidic burst from freshly harvested vegetables. 



For decades, the Mediterranean Diet has been lauded by doctors, scientists, and nutritionists for its evidentiary reduction in cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, type two diabetes, and weight loss for those struggling with obesity. With its focus on the consumption of unprocessed seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and healthy fats, the diet is modeled after the nutritional lifestyle of those living on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. With only small inclusions of lean meats like poultry, fish, and dairy, Extra Virgin Olive Oil serves as the main source of added fat and plays a crucial role in the success of this health-focused way of eating. 

One of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease is high cholesterol levels. There are two main types of cholesterol present in foods: LDL and HDL. LDL cholesterol moves straight to your bloodstream and can get stored in your arteries, causing plaque buildup that slows the flow of blood and oxygen through your body. This can cause stress on your heart and organs. When not addressed, plaque can become clots, which can then release to plug the arteries directly connected to your heart or brain, causing heart attacks or strokes. Moving straight to your liver to excrete from your body, however, HDL cholesterol helps to flush cholesterol from your body and prevents it from building up in your arteries. 

Containing up to 85% of monounsaturated fats that have a healthy cholesterol balance and are high in oleic acid in the place of saturated fats in a typical diet, the use of Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been proven to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and healthy glucose levels, as long as its addition to your diet is used to replace saturated fats, not compliment them. As a result, its consumption can aid in preventing high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and type 2 diabetes. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil also carries high levels of polyphenols, an organic antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in plants that has been proven to lower oxidation, reduce inflammation, improve brain health and function, fight free radicals in your body that can cause cancer, and much more. While the level of polyphenols present varies from one olive oil to the next, oftentimes fresher, more pungent flavor profiles indicate higher levels of polyphenols. 



When you examine the difference between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and refined Olive Oils, this claim seems to stand true. While Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a stronger, more pungent and fresh flavor and color, regular non-virgin Olive Oil tends to be weaker in taste and darker in color. The key differentiation is the method of extraction used to produce oil from fresh olives. Because of its efficacy on a large scale, most olive oils combine chemical and/or heated methods to separate the oil from the pulp, resulting in less pungent flavors, lower to no levels of polyphenols and vitamins. The more arduous cold-extraction method maintains flavor complexity and produces an oil richer in nutritional benefits. Our Extra Virgin Olive Oils are exclusively produced through our state-of-the-art Alfa Laval production system located right on the farm. Cold-pressing the olives within 24-hours of coming off the tree, this production system allows our oils to maintain high levels of vitamins and polyphenols. 



With its high smoke point of 400°F, the incorporation of Extra Virgin Olive Oil into your life is really quite simple. Whether you use it to pan sear a fresh cut of fish in place of your vegetable oil, drizzle it onto your salad, dip your bread into it instead of slathering it with butter, or serve it as a finishing oil for freshly steamed vegetables, there are a myriad of ways to bring Extra Virgin Olive Oil and all of its benefits into your life on a daily basis.  

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