April 1, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Popular Healthy Foods

Why is it that there is much talk about eating olive oil, wine, and tomato products and not simply olives, grapes, and tomatoes?

Surely the benefits of the processed forms are even more present in the whole form of the food.

Or is that not the case?

-- Corey Clark

(Location withheld)

I love this "thinking cap turned on" question!

Here is my take on each of the pairings:

Olive oil vs. olives: Everyone cooks with some sort of fat; not everyone eats olives.

So, in order to have as many people as possible reap the benefits of olives, it makes more sense to suggest they use olive oil in their cooking/salad dressings rather than eat olives.

Also, olives have a much stronger taste than olive oil. Many people who enjoy the flavor of olive oil do not find olives palatable.

Although olives offer more vitamins and minerals than olive oil, 120 calories of olives (equal to 1 tablespoon of olive oil) offers almost half of the daily recommended limit of sodium!

Tomato products vs. whole tomatoes: Cooked tomatoes offer higher levels of lycopene than their raw counterparts.

Wine vs. grapes: This is one I never understood. Grapes offer the same healthy compounds as wine. This is why I always tell people that if they regularly eat grapes but do not drink wine, they are not missing out on any health benefits!

I personally think this comes back to the "reaching as many people as possible" goal that applies to olive oil.


WifeMomChocoholic said...

Is it only red grapes that offer a benefit? I don't drink at all.

Anonymous said...

Are grapes a seasonal fruit?
If this is so, wouldn't drinking wine be great any time of the year?