HEALTH BENEFITS OF AUTHENTIC EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: TIPS FOR CHOOSING AND ASSESSING
Americans are having a love affair with olive oil. According to an article in Bloomberg news (Robinson and Silver, Jan. 25, 2015), olive oil in the U.S. is "a rich market with room to grow…consumption in the U.S. has tripled since 1990." In fact, the United States is the third largest olive oil consumer in the world, a market worth over 1.5 billion and growing. The problem is that that bottle of olive oil in your pantry, the one you bought for its purported health benefits and to help adhere to the much revered and seductive Mediterranean lifestyle, is most likely a scam. Authentic extra virgin olive oil, the kind that is truly a healing superfood, is hard to find in the marketplace. Seven out of 10 bottles of extra virgin olive oil sold in a U.S. supermarket were fake, according to a study performed by the UC Davis Olive Center. The lax regulatory environment has allowed large quantities of counterfeit olive oil to be labeled and sold as high-quality extra virgin. This stinging reality is slowly starting to seep onto the public's radar, Case in point, a fascinating 60 minutes exposé unveiled the fact that Italy's olive oil business (Italy is the number one importer of olive oil to the United States) has been corrupted by the mafia to the tune of a 16 billion dollar per year enterprise. The result? Most of the olive oil we consume in this country is tainted and does not contain the ingredients necessary for preventing disease and may even contain toxic ingredients. Much of the so-called extra virgin oil sold in this country (and served in our restaurants) is from a questionable source of origin, adulterated with cheaper seed oils, colorants and deodorizers or processed with heat, robbing the oil of its healthful properties.
Health professionals need a simple guide to help them teach their clients how to sift through the fakes and purchase the real, exceptionally healthful and unadulterated extra virgin olive oil. This advice will enable clients to skirt the scams and purchase authentic oil from reputable producers. This action will hopefully foster greater consumption of extra virgin olive oil, a vital, health-promoting, delightfully delectable food and one of the key components of the Mediterranean Diet.
Upon successful completion of this one-hour course, the participant should be able to:
Identify the different definitions of olive oil.
Cite the proven health benefits of authentic extra virgin.
Cite the prevalence of olive oil fraud.
Utilize the best strategies for choosing, storing and cooking with authentic extra virgin.
Identify current certifications for high quality oil.
Identify valid reputable resources for information on authentic olive oil.
Nationally recognized nutrition, health and fitness expert and published author Dr. Janet Brill specializes in cardiovascular disease prevention and has authored three books on the topic; the most recent is Blood Pressure DOWN (Three Rivers Press, May 7, 2013). Her second book, Prevent a Second Heart Attack follows the bestselling book, Cholesterol Down (Three Rivers Press, 2006). Currently, Dr. Janet writes a column for Bottom Line Health, Inc.
She is a trusted source of information for the national media and is a frequent guest expert on local and national television. Nationally, she has appeared on the Dr. Oz show numerous times, CBS "On the Couch" and as a nutrition expert for The Balancing Act (Lifetime). On a personal note, she has completed four marathons and countless road races, many for charitable organizations. A dedicated mother of three fantastic children and a devoted wife of 34 years, Dr. Janet and her family reside in Allentown, PA.