In the middle of a hot summer, a long, slow drizzle of rain can be comforting as well as beneficial to our crops and landscape. On the other hand, a daylong drizzle on a 33-degree winter day is not welcome by most of us. A drizzle of hot maple syrup on a stack of pancakes can taste really good. On the other hand, doctors tell us too much of a syrup drizzle might be bad for our blood sugar content.
One drizzle that I have found to be widely accepted as good for us is a drizzle of a fruit of a tree documented in history and the Bible for at least 5,000 years. Did you guess it is the olive tree?
The Bible tells us olive oil had many uses. Exodus 29:2, “and unleavened bread and unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil; you shall make them of fine wheat flour.” (Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Olive-Oil.) Leviticus 24:2, “Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.”
Olive trees were widely grown in the Mediterranean Basin in countries such as Israel, Greece, Egypt, Turkey and Iran, among others.
The olives, trees, and pressed oil were widely traded and distributed, according to archaeologists. Jesus even prayed in the Garden of Olives in Gethsemane.
Throughout history olive trees and oil have had many uses: mixed with spices as an anointing oil for kings/priests; as a peace symbol (olive branches); tombs were covered with olive branches; as a lamp oil; to soothe wounds and injuries; for cooking. Three foods were and still are cornerstones of the highly touted and respected Mediterranean diet: olive oil, wheat and grapes. Today, medical professionals and researchers tell us that a drizzle of olive oil in our cooking can be healthful.
A 2020 study reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that people who ate more than a half teaspoon of olive oil per day had lower rates of premature death from cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other causes compared to people who rarely ate it.
According to K.C. Wright of American Heart Association News, “Several grades of olive oil are found on store shelves in the U.S., from regular to extra virgin olive oil — commonly known as EVOO.
EVOO is the staple fat source for the Mediterranean diet, considered one of the healthiest dietary patterns and a diet emphasized by the American Heart Association for preventing cardiovascular disease.”
Regular olive oil, which might cost less than EVOO, has been refined, bleached, and then blended with 5-15% EVOO.
These blended products might be labeled as “Pure” or “light.”
Since EVOO has shown to contain more beneficial plant compounds and antioxidants for our heart, it is recommended as a good substitute for butter, margarine, and other types of fat for cooking or recipes.
Other good substitutes are plant oils such as soybean, canola, corn, safflower, sunflower, and others.
EVOO is the first pressing of the olives to squeeze out all the oil in cold conditions, not under heat.
Other researchers have found that no single food or nutrient has as much health impact on the whole dietary pattern of humans as olive oil.
Olive oil has been routinely used in salad dressing and in vegetable dishes, and substituted for butter on bread or even in mashed potatoes.
Production of olive oil is concentrated in the Mediterranean and Mideastern countries, with Spain the largest producer, followed by Italy, Tunisia, Greece, Turkey, and Morocco.
Even America produces over 40,000 acres of olives in California, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Oregon, and Hawaii. But that represents just a drizzle of our consumption, which is 90 million gallons annually in the U.S.
Spanish missionaries originally brought olives to California, where they were planted along the coast. Olive oil could be the drizzle that is good for you.
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