GRILLING WITH OLIVE OIL
When summer hits and the grills come out, so do all the wonderful marinades and sauces that make grilled foods so exceptional. Extra virgin olive oil has endless potential to boost the flavor of grilled foods and can neutralize harmful carcinogenic substances thanks to its high antioxidant levels.
Robust oils, such as those produced in Tuscany, Lazio and Trentino Alto-Adige, pair wonderfully with grilled meats, while the milderolive oils from Greece and Southern Italy are ideal for lighter grilled foods like fish.
A flavorful EVOO can also replace butter for grilled favorites like corn on the cob, portabella mushrooms, potatoes, onions and shrimp. As previously noted, Picholine and Arbequina are the most similar olive oil varieties to butter with their sweeter, more delicate flavor profiles.
COCKTAILS AND OLIVE OIL
“Olive oil and alcohol? Are you crazy?!” is the average shock response we get to the idea of combining the two. Mixologists around the country have included olive oil in special martinis and Bloody Marys, and some have even created completely new concoctions. Check out this Cucumber Vodka Olive Oil Cocktial… it’s delicious!
CALORIES IN OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is 100% fat and contains 120 calories in 1 Tbsp (0.5oz). Olive oil calories are exactly the same number as found in vegetable and animal fats, such as canola or butter; however, olive oil is by far the most nutrient-rich.
Research Shows Not All Calories are Created EqualWhile many people want to know how many calories are in olive oil, research finds that not all calories are necessarily equal.
A famous study by two British researchers, Professor Alan Kekwick and Dr. Gaston L.S. Pawan at Middlesex hospital in London tested four different 1,000 calorie diets. One diet consisted of 90% fat, the second diet consisted of 90% protein, the third diet consisted of 90% carbohydrates, and the fourth diet was a normal mixed diet of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The resulting data shows that several subjects on the high-carb diet actually gained weight, even at only 1,000 calories a day, while subjects on the high-protein diet lost weight; however, subjects on the high-fat diet lost considerably more weight than any of the other diets.
A more recent study, led by Cara Ebbeling, PhD, associate director and David Ludwig, MD, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital and published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, also challenges the notion that a “calorie is just a calorie”. The study finds diets that reduce the surge in blood sugar after a meal – either low- glycemic index or very-low carbohydrate – may be preferable to a low-fat diet for those trying to achieve lasting weight loss. – Read more about the study here.
OLIVE OIL IS HEALTHIER THAN OLIVE OIL
Most vegetable oils, including corn, soy and canola, are extracted from the seeds using solvents, such as Hexane, and heat. The resulting extracted oils are rancid and must be bleached and deodorized in order to make them edible for human consumption. These processes destroy any natural nutrients and produce free radicals that can contribute to a host of diseases.In comparison, extra virgin olive oil is a natural fruit juice containing polyphenols, the valuable antioxidants found in no other edible oil, which is thought to be responsible for the low incidence of heart disease associated with the Mediterranean diet.
BALSAMIC VINEGAR HAS GREAT BENEFITS TOO
1. AntioxidantWhen oxidation takes place in your body, energy is produced. This energy hampers the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are known to destroy cell membranes. They also manifest as premature aging, which hardens your arterial walls. The antioxidants found in balsamic vinegar destroy the free radicals and as a result, protecting your cells from destruction. The balsamic vinegar has also been seen to slow the process of aging.
2. Fighting CancerThe grapes that are used in the formation of balsamic vinegar contain quercetin, which is a bioflavonoid with antioxidant properties. Along with having Vitamin C, the antioxidant also strengthens your immune system thereby making it easy for you to fight infections inflammations and even cancer.
3. Reducing Heart Attack RiskSince balsamic vinegar contains low cholesterol and saturated fat, it is not harmful to your health more so to the heart. Substituting dressings that have high cholesterol levels with balsamic vinegar will improve your heart health because unwanted fats won’t deposited in your blood vessels. What’s more, balsamic vinegar contains low sodium and this means reduced blood pressure and enhanced heart health.
4. Pain RelieverBalsamic vinegar was used in ancient times to relieve people of pain. People suffering from headaches and migraines can also find relief from their agony by taking some balsamic vinegar. This vinegar can also be used to treat infections and wounds as it has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
5. Digestion PromotionBalsamic vinegar also contains polyphenols which stimulate the pepsin enzyme activity in your body. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme that helps break down proteins into amino acids. Moreover, they assist your intestines to expeditiously absorb amino acids. Efficient absorption of amino acids makes it easy for your body to utilize repair and build cells. It also helps in the maintenance of the body’s work.
6. Weight LossBalsamic vinegar can also be used as dressing for salads hence a wonderful substitute for fatty acids like mayonnaise. Since this vinegar also contains calories that only come from the grapes’ sugar content, it makes for a good weight control substitute. Balsamic vinegar is also known to keep you feeling full and for longer. Therefore, you will eat less food hence controlling your weight.
7. Diabetes ControlResearch conducted revealed that consuming about three to four balsamic vinegar tablespoons will enhance your insulin sensitivity. The higher your insulin sensitivity is, the better your chances of controlling diabetes.
8. Bone HealthAcetic and pepsin help improve the absorption of important minerals into your body like magnesium and calcium. These two minerals are important in the formation of strong and healthy bones. Balsamic vinegar is a great source of both minerals.