Spaniards love it, and so should we. Learn more about the magic of olive oil below!
I really had no idea just how much olive oil could be loved, and then I went to Spain. As the world’s largest olive oil producer, it makes sense why the Spanish take this kitchen staple so seriously. When you have the best of the best, I guess I would pay more attention to it, too. Olive oil – the highest quality olive oil — is produced almost everywhere in Spain, much of the landscape is covered in olive tree farms. Take a drive down any major highway, and that’s what you can expect to see. I spent a couple days in Jaen, the olive oil capital of the world, where the locals call their OO, “Liquid Gold”. The taste is rich, better than I’ve ever had in the states. In Spain, olive oil is like our salt: always on the table, hands always reaching for a tad bit more. But might I add, the application of OO on food may be slightly more generous in Spain than we’re used to seeing. If it’s good and you got it, use it, right?
A great accompaniment to the Spanish Mediterranean diet, essentially everything is doused in OO. For the 10 days while I was there, a majority of what I ate had OO either in it or on it. For breakfast, it’s common to have a piece of toast drizzled with olive oil to pair with your morning coffee. I saw everyone dipping in the toast like it was biscotti. Olive oil and coffee?? I was so confused at first, but then I tried it, and everything made sense.
On bread, on fruit, on pastries, on chocolate… it doesn’t really matter what’s on the plate, a drizzle of OO on anything adds the Spanish seal of approval. The chocolate combo may have been my favorite. Break off a little piece of 80% dark, place it on top a tiny bit of freshly baked bread, then finish it off with a splash of oil. Mmmm!
The flavor may lend itself to why the Spaniards love their OO so much, but researchers claim that the secret to their health (Spaniards have the 3rd longest life expectancy in the world) may lie in their olive oil obsessed diets. To reap the benefits of this nutrient-packed oil, read up below, and consider loving this “liquid gold” a little more. Just be sure to get your hands on the good stuff.
Olive oil speeds up the production of peptides, which supports healthy digestion and helps the absorption of nutrients. I met a man while traveling through Granada, Spain, who noted that he ate a spoonful of olive oil before every meal. Research claims that this can help reduce bloating, upset stomach, acid reflux and heartburn. Next time you have any of these problems, try taking a spoonful of olive oil for some relief!
If you find yourself out of lotion or your daily moisturizer, olive oil can be used as a substitute. Try rubbing a small amount on areas of the skin that are very dry ( I’d avoid putting on the face if you’re prone to breakouts.) The dry temperatures and high altitudes in Spain caused my lips to chap and crack the first day I arrived. I was without proper chapstick for a couple days, all I needed to reach for was some olive oil! Applying a thin coat of oil to your lips a couple times a day will help keep them soothed and fix the damage. For a gentle lip (or body) scrub, try mixing 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup Turbinado sugar, and a couple drops of your favorite essential oils.
To add moisture back into dry locks and help repair split ends, try making an olive oil based hair mask. Mix 2 tbsp olive oil with 2 tbsp coconut oil (melt over low heat before mixing with other ingredients if solid) and 1 tbsp honey. Apply to dry hair and cover with a shower cap. Leave on for 20 minutes before shampooing.
+ How do you incorporate olive oil into your life? Let us know in the comments below?
Find more ways to use olive oil here!