Health Bump: Drizzle Olive Oil on Your Veggies

Eating a "Mediterranean diet" is good for your health, especially your heart. It consists of plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, olive oil, nuts and fish.

Vegetables with Olive OilThere are many reasons why this type of eating plan is good for us, but new research suggests that a significant reason for this may be due to a partnership between extra virgin olive oil and vegetables. According to scientists, the unsaturated fat in extra virgin olive oil (much of it monounsaturated fat) couples with nitrogen compounds found in greens, carrots, celery and other vegetables to form "nitro fatty acids." Through a series of chemical reactions, these fatty acids help lower blood pressure, reducing the risk for heart problems or strokes.

More research is needed, but for now leverage the power of your summer salads and vegetable dishes with extra virgin olive oil dressings. But take note: most commercial salad dressings do not contain extra virgin olive oil in the ingredient list – all the more reason to create your own. Here's a great herb-infused dressing that will enhance any of your favorite garden goodies: Herb Vinaigrette.

Contributed by Sue Moores, M.S., R.D., Kowalski's Nutritionist.

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