Spanish Tapas

Olive oil and health

Shout it from the rooftops: Olive oil is good for you!

Extra virgin olive oil is a completely natural product full of earthy flavours and aromas.

These aromas and flavours stimulate our appetite, which is important for the digestive process.

It has a high vitamin A, D, K and E content. It is an excellent source of oleic acid, which is a type of fat that has been shown to raise the levels of high density lipoproteins (HDLs). This is the ‘good’ cholesterol found in your body.

It has an anti-oxidant effect on human body cells and stimulates bone growth and calcium absorption. The right fats and oils are an essential part of any balanced diet.

It is easily digested, is quickly and completely absorbed by the body’s system. It contains trace elements like chlorophyll to help this absorption.

It also restricts the production of hydrochloric acids, thereby reducing the chances of ulcers and other gastro-intestinal problems. A diet that includes olive oil aids the circulatory system thereby reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis and other circulatory ailments.

The oil’s non-saturated fats are not only cholesterol-free, they have also been shown to actually reduce cholesterol levels.

Frank Sacks of the Harvard School of Public Health wrote: ‘An olive-oil-rich diet is more effective than a low-fat diet in controlling and treating obesity... it leads to longer-lasting weight loss and it is easier to keep to because it tastes good.’

That, I suppose, is the whole crux of the matter. It doesn’t matter how good a diet is, or how scientifically-proven its benefits are - if it don’t taste good, you ain’t gonna eat it!

And, as if that weren't enough, you can also use it to massage and moisturise the skin. It has healing properties for wounds and other skin complaints, it’s good for your hair and you can even use it for fuel in lamps and the like. 

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that some wily old Spanish farmer somewhere has even refined it, mixed it with a bit of chicken manure and runs his tractors on it!

Choosing, tasting and storing

The processing of the oil

The Denominaciónes de Origen

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