Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a product that never ceases to amaze both for its flavors and its health benefits. The health benefits of consuming it raw are numerous and already well-noted by many. For example: it combats damage due to free radicals which lead to premature cellular-ageing; it is considered "heart-friendly" if consumed within a balanced diet; it seems to help in the prevention of certain tumors; it is believed that a diet rich in EVOO can be associated with a lower instance of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease (click here to learn more); it has anti-inflammatory properties.
What many people don't know is that EVOO can actually also improve the healthy characteristics of the food it is cooking with due to its antioxidant properties. As long as the oil doesn't reach its smoke point (380 degrees F/ 190 degrees C, which is conveniently higher than the average frying temperature), the EVOO transfers some of its antioxidants to the food, helping to protect the food's nutrients from deteriorating at the elevated temperatures. This is the case when EVOO is used in many preparations such as during frying, in sautées and sauces (like tomato sauce), but also when used in a marinade for meats, fish and vegetables on the grill, reducing the carcinogenic components that typically develop during the grilling process.
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