Olive Oil: The Food Pyramid Debate

In June of this year the USDA released My Plate to replace The Food Pyramid. Harvard disagrees with the government’s choice to leave “beneficial fats” such as olive oil off the new diagram. They believe it is important for your nutrition to include these beneficial oils to protect your heart and support your overall physical and emotional well being.

The Harvard School of Public Health says “Use olive, canola, and other plant oils in cooking, on salads, and at the table, since these healthy fats reduce harmful cholesterol and are good for the heart.” This is why Harvard introduced their own version called The Healthy Eating Plate, which places an emphasis on the items the USDA left out.

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According to the Mayo Clinic the main type of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids. MUFAs have been found to lower your total cholesterol, benefit insulin levels, reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease. Olive oil and its unusual fat content contains about 75% MUFAs, high for any plant oil, making it the best choice for your fat intake.

Consider applying Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate to your next meal. For the first course prepare a modest salad, mixed field greens, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts tossed in O&CO’s Lemon Specialty Olive Oil. When it comes to vegetables the more saturated in color they are the healthier. Pine nuts help to fulfill part of your protein and by tossing it in flavored olive oil you receive the health benefits of olive oil with a tangy citrus flavor.

It is important to remember adding olive oil to an unhealthy entrée does not make it healthy. Keep that in mind when preparing your main course. Try using O&CO’s Penne with wheat germ and tossing it in their Puttanesca Tomato Sauce, finish it off with a few drizzles of olive oil. Wheat germ is the heart of the wheat plant and contains many important vitamins and protein.

In order to fulfill all of the sections on the Healthy Eating Plate utilize fresh fruit as your desert. Try drizzling O&CO’s Sunflower Honey over a dish of mixed fruit for an added bonus. Be sure to take a look at your portion size, by reducing your intake and eating in moderation you will increase your chances of a healthy lifestyle.