In the battle against food additives, very busy days, and bad habits, changing just one ingredient in your diet and cooking can have some serious health benefits. Introducing, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. While it’s not a magic food, its simplicity in construction and chemical make-up deems it one of the best “additives” for flavour and cooking in our daily arsenal to combat these challenges.

Extra Virgin Olive oil is an all-natural primary source of monounsaturated fat, which according to the Mayo clinic can help reduce LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol in our blood stream. That introduction of the good fat, the healthy fat, is what makes Extra Virgin olive oil a serious contender in the battle against fighting diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stress, high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis.

It has become a relatively widely accepted fact that if we fill our bodies with unnatural and processed foods, over time these additives can contribute to breaking down our natural defences. Extra Virgin Olive oil, along with various other antioxidant rich foods, can help rebuild some of the damage done and prevent further damage.

Take for example, osteoporosis. What many people know is that osteoporosis is the result of the body losing calcium from the bone, especially as we age. Even if you take a calcium supplement, that may not be enough as the body needs another mineral to help absorb calcium. Extra Virgin Olive oil helps with calcium absorption. While we wouldn’t suggest adding olive oil to a glass of milk, using olive oil while cooking the meal that goes with the milk will help.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (often referred to as EVOO) is the least processed of all olive oils. Because of its natural state, it is easier for the body to absorb and use it for its good health benefits. For people who may be at risk for diabetes, incorporating olive oil into their diet could help to begin an overall path to better health. EVOO can improve blood sugar control and enhance the body’s natural sensitivity to insulin, the chemical that balances out sugar.

In the world of healthy lifestyles and making smart choices, and moving away from diets high in processed foods or saturated fats, EVOO is the first choice for both the Mediterranean Diet and the Paleo Diet. In both cases diets high in antioxidant rich foods, non-processed, and natural whole foods, EVOO the condiment of choice for both flavouring food and cooking.

Even if you are not used to an EVOO based lifestyle, it’s easy to start out small. Begin by tossing a salad with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Rather than using butter to keep pasta from sticking together, EVOO. If you’re a bread lover, dip fresh bread into olive oil rather than slathering butter on it. For a double dose of antioxidant health, drizzle some Lemon Olive Oil over red cabbage, spinach, or asparagus.