Superfoods are the superstars under the beneficial foods. The consensus is that superfoods contain high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals.
But did you know that there is ONE great tasting food that has shown to reduce the risk of heart disease? That same food has been shown to help reduce the risk of stroke as well has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, improve sleep, balance HDL’s and LDL’s AND it’s not a bitter medicine that makes you want to gag? Instead, it’s bitter medicine that actually brightens the flavor of your food and makes healthy, fresh food taste Amazing.
You know what product I’m talking about, right? Extra Virgin Olive Oil/EVOO of course!
But what if I told you that, even though EVOO is on every grocery store shelf, the real EVOO is exceedingly difficult to find. Why is that?
Unfortunately, when you buy olive oil -- let's just say -- most of the time you aren't buying what it says on the label.
According to this FORBES article, "unless you bought it directly from a producer or a certified distributor, the olive oil in your kitchen marked Italian extra virgin” is very probably a fake. Either it's low quality falsely marked as virgin or extra-virgin - and not even from Italy - or it's been mixed with other oils of dubious provenance. At worst, it's not olive oil at all but a vegetable oil disguised with coloring and aroma."
This is sad and terrible news. You would think that there would be consumer advocacy groups or better yet, a government department that regulates the business side of food. The business of food should be about providing real healthy ingredients for people to live well, but of course, when looking at extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, jam, and other products, this is most often not the case.
Again, the answer to the ‘why’ is that most consumers are not food producers. They rely on the food producer to make real food. And the few people who do know the difference consistently repeat the same story – “I love olive oil I just have a hard time finding the real thing here in the States.”
Well even though we are in business, our business is about educating and providing healthy options to feed themselves and loved ones.
This is why we go on and on and on and on about – THE HARVEST DATE. As they say in wrestling, for every hold there is a break.
And when shopping for extra virgin olive oil, the Harvest Date is one of the solutions to the problem.
What is the harvest date?
The Harvest Date is the date the olive became oil. The reason this is significant is that like all ‘living’ things, olive oil decays over time. For olive oil, you have a maximum of 3 years to use it from the Harvest Date.
Sometimes, people who I can tell are not really listening, will respond – “Well I use it quicker than that.” Again, the issue is not with the consumer, it is with the producer or distributor.
The oil you buy on the shelf could have been sitting in a warehouse for 3, 4, 5 years before it hits the shelf. Whether you consume it quickly or not doesn’t’ matter, the oil is already rancid.
4 Things to Check before Buying Olive Oil
I was a consumer of olive oil 6 years ago – now I am a producer of olive oil. This is what you want to know when shopping for extra virgin olive oil (we’ve touched on this is another blog before, but just to reiterate).
- If it’s not fresh and it’s rancid, it doesn’t matter how organic, cold pressed or extra virgin it was – rotten food is rotten. Look for the Harvest Date to ensure freshness.
- Once you know you have fresh olive oil, then the terms cold pressed, extra virgin, organic become meaningful.
- Look for trade groups like the COOC who regulate for the authenticity of extra virgin olive oil.
- Look for displays of awards – these are meaningful but of course only if the oil is fresh.
Be a smart shopper! Read your labels especially make sure you find a harvest date. Read up on the olive oil industry and make sure you buy from reputable producers.
It just so happens that one of the major brands settled a lawsuit. You can read about it here.
Consumers aren’t dumb, they just need a little education.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has incredible health properties – we just have to make sure we’re buying the right stuff – the good stuff!
Enjoy in health!