The vegan Mediterranean diet has been proven to be a smart nutritional choice. It emphasizes a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains as well as olive oil - an iconic and core ingredient infusing the food with a unique flavor and providing a wellness boost. Consuming these plant-based nutrient-rich foods makes Mediterranean countries among some of the healthiest in the world. The bioactive compounds such as oleic acid and polyphenols abundant in olive oil have free radical-scavenging potential to reduce inflammation and lower the occurrence of certain chronic diseases. Studies have shown heart disease is less common in Mediterranean countries. Research published in the peer-reviewed journal “Neurology” stated that older people who consumed large amounts of olive oil were 41% less likely to have a stroke than those who never used it. In addition, consuming more olive oil may also increase bone mineral density, based on a study published in the journal “Nutrients.” Extra virgin olive oil also contains a good amount of vitamin E with antioxidant properties, as well as vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting and bone maintenance. According to studies, it is considered as one of the healthiest cooking oils available. Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which are more heat-stable and resistant to oxidation. Due to its stability in high heat, it even outperforms other oils with high smoke points, such as avocado and refined coconut oils. Studies show that replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats from olive oil can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Regular olive oil is a blend of 15%-25% virgin olive oil and the rest is refined olive oil. Regular olive oil is also healthy but has less polyphenol content and holds a neutral flavor. An important factor that determines the quality of extra virgin olive oil is acidity, which has nothing to do with taste, but the free fatty acid content. Therefore, less acidity represents better quality when it comes to extra virgin olive oil. Light is the greatest threat to olive oil in terms of maintaining its taste and health-boosting properties. After opening, it’s better to use it up within three to five months, as repeated oxygen exposure will reduce the flavor.