Olive Oil in the Mediterranean Diet

Posted by Tony Kasandrinos on

As with all good things in life when it comes to diets and a healthy, balanced lifestyle, it’s more about quality than quantity. Having less but better. The Mediterranean diet is the epitome of that philosophy; old-school or contemporary whatever seems more engaging to you, Mediterranean is the way to go.

Layering delicious flavors, choosing fresh over-processed, always opting for seasonal ingredients and sticking to natural foods instead of counting calories is the golden ticket to an overall healthier and happier way of life.

And the glorious ingredient that epitomizes the beauty of the Mediterranean diet?

You guessed it, it's the all-mighty

Olive Oil.

In ancient Greece, they were happy with a glass of wine and wholesome bread dipped in olive oil. More than happy to be precise.

Allow us to do a little name dropping to impress you with our historical knowledge:

Homer, (yes, the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey) referred to olive oil as “the liquid gold.”

Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, called it “the great healer” and prescribed it for over 60 medical conditions. Did it work? It certainly helped, according to today’s science-backed facts.

Dioscorides was one of the first doctors who figured out that certain varieties of olives produced the healthiest oils.

Today we all know that what makes olive oil so special, is its potency in good-for-you monounsaturated fats.

 In fact, 73% of each drop is made up of oleic acid which is a miracle-packed nutrient as it can reduce the risk of heart disease, fight inflammation and may even have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.

And if all these are Greek to you, let’s get to the fun part:

Kasandrinos

How do the Mediterraneans incorporate olive oil to their daily menus and how you can effortlessly do it too!

 

Start with a dash of olive oil when cooking.

Next time you come across a Greek or Mediterranean cook-book think of us and take up the following challenge: Open up to a random page and check the first steps of a random recipe: Most likely it instructs you to sauté something in a little bit of lovely olive oil. So, most recipes start with a few simple, seasonal ingredients cooked in a healthy dose of olive oil. It has been proven that olive oil stands up well to heat and is perfectly safe to cook with, as it retains its beneficial qualities during cooking, it is rather resistant to heating and it doesn't oxidize or go rancid easily.

 

Make flavourful marinades.

Another way to add olive oil to your daily cooking is to use it in marinades. A simple mix of oil, vinegar, lemon juice or wine and a few carefully selected spices is the perfect base for a marinade that will take your meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables to the next level.

 

Pour some raw olive oil over each meal.

Drizzle some delicious olive oil over your salads, steamed vegetables or rice and pasta. Bring out the delicate notes of a minimal bowl of mixed greens or seasonal vegetables with the addition of a few drops of oil. You will be surprised by the burst of flavor you'll get and you will never go back to store-bought dressings that cover up the natural taste of your fresh produce. When it comes to pasta, rice or even cooked legumes,* a finishing touch of olive oil will add a distinctive richness without making your meal too heavy.  Add coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper and thank us later.

 

There are numerous ways to enhance your meals with olive oil’s nutrient-packed deliciousness and we commit to exploring them with you, with new recipes and tips every week. Make sure to subscribe and follow us on our social media @kasandrinos so that we can embark on this culinary journey together.