Extra virgin olive oil: the core of the mediterranean diet
Olive oil is at the core of the Mediterranean Diet. In fact, some food historians deﬁne the Mediterranean Diet as the “traditional eating patterns in areas around the Mediterranean Sea where olives are grown.” Although study after study ﬁnds that the Med Diet’s health beneﬁts come from the interplay of many food groups, olive oil is always part of the picture. When it comes to choosing olive oils at the store, make sure to look for EVOO. EVOO is produced by mechanically crushing olives to separate the liquids from the solids, then further separating the liquids into water and oil. No heat or chemicals are used in this process, which is the starting point for EVOO.
EVOO then goes through testing. Global standards from the International Olive Council (IOC) include several lab tests for a certain level of acidity and other metrics, along with two sensory tests, performed by a trained olive oil taster. Various seals and certiﬁcation programs attest that the oil has met these standards at the time it’s bottled.