You ran out of oil. You have your grocery shopping list in one hand and you are armed with knowledge. Olive oil is the cardiovascular health darling. “It’s all I use,” says Magaly, one of my patients diagnosed with diabetes and high cholesterol levels. “It has no cholesterol,” she adds with an approving nod. Olive oil has once again garnished attention following the results of the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet, the PREDIMED study. A 2014 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts was as effective in reducing total body weight and improving the blood glucose level of individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Here are some shopping tips:
Know the real meaning of “Light olive oil.” Is it really light in calories? A teaspoon of olive oil has about 40 calories. A teaspoon of light olive oil has about 40 calories. The term “light” refers to the oil’s color, not the number of calories.
Produced in Italy vs. Packed in Italy: Know the difference! Most of the olive oil bottled in Italy originates from Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia. Unfortunately, some of the olive oil that is labeled “packed in Italy” or “Imported from Italy” may be mixed with soybean oils, which are much cheaper and less healthy. Look for the Italian Protected Designation of Origin logo, “DOP” (Denomizanione di Origine Protetta) to ensure that the Italian olive oil was produced, processed, and prepared in Italy. Spanish and French olive oils have their unique national logo. When seeking good quality American oil, search for the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) and International Olive Council (IOC) certification.
Clear vs. Dark Bottles: The quality of extra-virgin olive oil is affected by heat, air and light. Extra-virgin olive oil contains more antioxidants than virgin oils. Buy olive oil in opaque containers, within 18 months from the bottling date and use within a month of opening.
California Olive Oil Council www.cooc.com
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