lunedì 21 gennaio 2008

Olive Oil - A Healthy Staple

There are many advantages to using olive oil, including, of course, the rich and delicious taste. Extra virgin is the preferred variety, because the flavor is the richest and the health benefits are greater. Olive oil is an essential ingredient in an Italian kitchen, and a staple of the Mediterranean diet.

Olive oil is rich is monounsaturated fat, which helps to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol levels. It also contains antioxidants, good for fighting off disease. Many studies have shown that people who use olive oil regularly show a lower incidence of certain diseases, such as colon cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It has also been shown to help combat osteoporosis. The benefit is particularly evident when olive oil is used in place of other fats in the diet, such as animal fats.

The use of olive oil as a primary dietary fat, combined with a diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables and poultry, is a basic principle of the Mediterranean diet, which is now being followed by people all over the world because of its tremendous health benefits.

An easy and fun way to incorporate olive oil into your diet is to try bread-dipping. This can be used as a snack or as an appetizer before your favorite meal. To experience the full flavor sensation, make sure you use a fine-quality extra virgin olive oil. Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar, some herbs or spices, and dip your bread in this instead of using butter.

Some fun ingredients you can try adding to your olive oil dip are lemon juice, cracked black pepper, basil, pesto, cilantro, oregano, pressed garlic (alone or in combination with other herbs or spices), simple salt and pepper, or any fresh herb or combination of your choice. The possibilities are endless! You can also try dipping fresh vegetables in your dip instead of bread.

Do you have a great idea for some fabulous bread dip? Leave a comment and share your ideas with us!

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