Superfood Number Twelve!

It took me so long to finally decide what my last superfood would be. I considered apples, pomegranates, even onions, but in the end it all boiled (or would sizzled be a better choice of word...) down to one thing. Growing up in Cyprus this just had to come into my list: oil! 

Obviously in Cyprus favourite choice is olive oil, I've got a whole bottle-full handmade by one of my dad's Cypriot work friends to prove it! To make this post a bit more unbiased though, I'm also going to talk a bit about other varieties, explaining their differences and benefits.

I know a lot of people try to avoid oil because of its high fat content, I certainly used to! Hopefully after reading this post though you will realise that, in small quantities, this fat is extremely beneficial to our bodies; take a leap of faith into the Mediterranean diet! 

Olive oil:

• Olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats as well as antioxidants and Vitamins A, B, E and K. 
• These antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals and studies have shown they may help to prevent breast and bowel cancer. 
• Olive oil balances blood cholesterol levels by lowering the bad LDL cholesterol, in turn helping to prevent heart disease. 
• 100ml of pure olive oil contains 822 calories, 91g of fat and 15.5g of saturates. 
• Eating olive oil with vegetables helps your body absorb the essential nutrients from them more efficiently.
• As well as all of these benefits, olive oil helps with healthy ageing and it tastes great too!

It is thought that the healthiest way to eat olive oil is in an uncooked form; my favourite use is as a salad dressing. In the traditional Cypriot style, I combine olive oil with freshly squeezed lemon, balsamic vinegar and oregano. 

This dressing is delicious on all of these salads and is also great as a dip for pitta or cypriot favourite snack as a young child! 

Filippo Berio have so many recipes for every variety of olive oil for practically every meal! I sent away for all of their free recipe booklets and you can read them online too.

Rapeseed Oil:

Rapeseed, or Canola, oil is quite often named as the healthiest type of oil; most varieties have up to half of the saturated fat content (only 7%) of olive oil. It is high in mono-unsaturated fat, made up from a mixture of omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 and helps keep your heart healthy by reducing blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and inflammation. 100ml of rapeseed oil contains 897 calories, 99g of fat and 6.8g saturates.

As rapeseed oil has a higher heating temperature than olive oil, I use it for all of my stir-fries and roasted vegetables; I usually use 1/2 tsp for my single serving meals. As well as my recipes below, Borderfields also have some great rapeseed oil recipes.

Sunflower oil:

Sunflower oil is lighter in taste and colour than the other oils I have talked about. It is extremely high in Vitamin E an contains a mixture of mono-unsaturated and poly-unstaurated fats as well as antioxidants and phytochemicals which protect against disease. As with the other oils, sunflower oil has also been proven to lower cholesterol and be beneficial for heart health. 100ml of sunflower oil contains 828 calories, 92g of fat and 11g of saturates.

Sunflower oil is my baking oil. It is a great substitution for butter in a lot of recipes, lowering the saturated fat content and adding a lovely texture and flavour, as in this carrot cake recipe. Flora also have some great recipes for sunflower oil on their website.

Well, I hope you enjoyed all of my superfoods! I'll do a recap of them all in a post later on this week in case you have missed any. Were there any unexpected ones on the list? Or ones you would have added in? What are your top 12 superfoods? I would love to read all of your opinions below!

7 click here to leave your opinion :) :

  1. Very interesting. I love that olive oil is so versatile and could be used for so many things. I use it sometimes to condition my hair if it gets too dry!


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