Extra virgin olive oil is a healthy part of any diet, but it’s also an essential part of some of today’s most popular nutrition regimens. From keto to paleo, vegetarian to vegan, extra virgin olive oil is a delicious way to provide healthy fat, flavor and antioxidants to any dish.
“What I love about extra virgin olive oil is that it can be a part of everyone’s diet, no matter what type of lifestyle you choose to follow. Cooking with EVOO is an easy way for anyone to reap the heart healthy benefits while still keeping in line with popular diets such as Keto, Paleo, Vegan, and Mediterranean,” says Danielle Aran, MS, RD. “We’ve come a long way in terms of how we think about fat in the diet, and I’m happy to see that as a whole we have settled on the fact that eating the right kinds of fat, from heart healthy sources like extra virgin olive oil, is actually protective for cardiovascular health.”
Here’s how it plays a major role in five popular diets.
The high-fat keto diet works by inducing ketosis—a metabolic process that burns the body’s stored fat into fuel—and requires dieters to avoid carbohydrates and sugar. For keto dieters, consuming enough fat is essential to staying healthy and feeling satisfied. One smart way to do that? Relying on extra virgin olive oil. With zero carbs and 100 percent fat, it’s a great way to avoid an excess of saturated fat (from butter, red meat, cream, lard, coconut oil and more) and add a bright, vegetal flavor to an otherwise meat-heavy diet.
The paleo diet, or Paleolithic diet—named after the diet of cavemen in the Paleolithic era—is centered around foods that could be hunted and gathered and excludes anything processed or refined. That means no dairy, sweets, processed meats and more. In the absence of butter, canola oil and other refined cooking oils, extra virgin olive oil is an ideal way to cook the lean meats and non-starchy vegetables that comprise the cornerstones of this diet.
Sticking to a vegetable-centered plan? Olive oil can be used in a million different ways to bring out the sweetness and depth of all kinds of veggies (and fruit—try our recipe for roasted grape crostini). From sautéing to roasting, braising to grilling, extra virgin olive oil is a healthy way to bring a veggie dish together.
Vegans avoid any animal products or byproducts. Luckily, extra virgin olive oil is an easy swap for butter not only in cooking but baking as well. Try it in olive oil cake (the fruitier the extra virgin olive oil, the fruitier the final cake will be!) or delicious dark chocolate brownies. Cooking, sautéing or frying vegetables in olive oil creates a caramelized, crispy exterior—you’ll never miss the meat.
One diet that uses olive oil more than most? The Mediterranean diet, named best diet of 2019 by U.S. News and World Report. Inspired by the fresh eating habits of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea (like Italy, Greece and Spain—which, thanks to the popularity of the Mediterranean diet, was just ranked world’s healthiest nation with Italy a close second), this regimen is less a restrictive diet and more a way of eating. By focusing on unprocessed foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and spices, and bringing in meat, poultry and dairy in moderation, the Mediterranean diet is easy to follow and maintain.
No matter the diet, cooking and enjoying Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a simple way to pack in powerful antioxidants, a good source of monounsaturated fat and a fresh, fruity flavor that enhances any dish.
The Recipe is Simple. Quality in a Bottle.