Most of us are aware that when it comes to fats, not all oils are created equal. Lauded for its monounsaturated goodness, olive oil has long reigned as the healthiest fat on the block—but now it appears there's even more reason to mix up those vinaigrettes and marinades this summer.
A new study just published in the journal Neurology suggests that olive oil may help reduce strokes as well. For the study, scientists in France tracked more than 7,000 people in the 65+ age range, weighing such factors as body mass and daily diet and exercise habits. The results? Nearly half (41% to be exact) of those who consumed olive oil on a regular, daily basis were at a lower risk for strokes than those who turned to other oils and fats.
Tentative findings, yes, but encouraging all the same for those of us who enjoy a summery salad of greens or pasta with an herby vinaigrette, or a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil over our grilled veggies and meat.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes incorporating olive oil—both for cooking and out-of-hand eating. When combined with other good-for-you ingredients like fresh veggies, nuts and whole grains, the health impact of olive oil is even greater. And as with all fats, use a light hand—easy to do with flavorful olive oil. A little goes a long way flavor-wise and otherwise.