May is International Mediterranean Diet Month, a time to pay tribute to a dietary lifestyle that is as old as it is venerated, and one that has proven time and again the benefits of consuming a balanced and varied diet that is low in saturated fats and high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and fish, the Mediterranean diet derives many of its health benefits from the liquid gold that pulses through its veins: extra virgin olive oil.
Demonstrated to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death from heart disease—among other benefits—extra virgin olive oil is becoming more and more familiar, as well as accessible in U.S. pantries. The same is true for the wide range of natural food products that are starting to take advantage of the flavor and nutritional benefits this ingredient has to offer.
To reap its rewards, however, it’s important to stock products with certain characteristics and added quality assurances. Making sure that the olive oil is extra virgin is key, as is looking for additional guarantees in terms of where it was produced, traceability and different quality certifications.
And despite having been a dietary staple in many cultures for over a thousand years, olive oil is still inspiring innovation, with companies coming up with new and better ways to ensure quality and peace of mind for consumers.
Check out these singular extra virgin olive oils from near and far.