The benefits of olive oil for your diet are plentiful but it can be hard to find ways to work it in, rather than just using it as your cooking oil each time. There are many ways you can use olive oil in cooking. The Benefits of Olive Oil There are many benefits of including olive oil in your diet. The most regularly documented one is the positive effects it can have on your heart, in terms of protection against bad cholesterols and increasing the levels of good cholesterols in the body. It is also packed full of valuable antioxidants and Vitamin E which is believed to protect the body from a range of lifestyle illnesses and the effects of ageing. Here are five ways you can use olive oil in your diet more regularly.
1. Swap your Butter
Go all out in real Mediterranean style and give up butter. Use olive oil on your bread instead. Butter clogs your arteries anyway so you’ll be better off enjoying your bread in the Mediterranean way. Just bring out a bowl of extra virgin olive oil and allow the family to dip in.
2. Salad Dressing Heaven
Buying your salad dressings ready-made is simply not healthy. Ready-made jars and dressings are full of unfriendly trans-fats, not to mention sugars. Instead you can create your own naturally delicious dressing using olive oil combined with simple balsamic vinegar and seasoning. You can add in additional flavours such as herbs or garlic dependent on your personal taste.
3. Enjoy Fresh Pesto
Pesto is a fabulous condiment for spicing up pasta dishes or enjoying with dips and yes, you can buy it in a jar but it’s much nicer and more nutritious when you make your own. Combine your olive oil with salt, garlic fresh basic and pine nuts until you’ve got the thick creamy paste you know to be pesto. You can make it thicker or thinner with the amount of oil you choose to add and it can be used in so many ways – as a topping for fish, to spread on bread or in those classic pasta dishes.
4. Meat Rub
Rubbing your meats, fish or even vegetable-based proteins such as soya and tofu with olive oil before cooking results softer, moister meat. It also ensures you get those additional benefits of olive oil every time you have a protein-heavy meal.
5. Just Cook with It
It can be that simple. You can adopt the Mediterranean way and simply cook all your meals with olive oil. It’s not recommended for deep frying but there is no reason it can’t be used for any other type of cooking. Lightly frying or griddling vegetables in olive oil before serving gives them an extra tang and all the benefits of this healthy oil. It’s easy to get olive oil into your diet and these are just some of the ways to start using it. More than that once you start using it regularly you’ll find new and innovative ways to incorporate it into your cuisine.
Maria Cumming Panadero is a Managing Director in El Olivo. She is committed to sharing her passion for delicious, high quality olive oils and fine food from her homeland Spain.