Why to try it: Antioxidant-rich olive oil protects against heart disease by controlling LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels while raising HDL, or good cholesterol. In fact, it's such a health boon that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lets olive oil producers put a heart-health claim on their labels. (It's one of a handful of foods to get that blessing.) But new research shows olive oil may be more than just good for your ticker. Scientists from Philadelphia's Monell Chemical Senses Center discovered that olive oil has a compound with the same structure as ibuprofen, the widely used anti-inflammatory painkiller in Advil and Motrin. That means olive oil may offer the same benefits as low doses of the drug, including reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, some cancers, and even Alzheimer's disease. It also may help fight breast and colon cancers.
What to do with it: Light and aromatic, Spanish olive oil is easy to find at your local grocery store or online at Tienda.com for about $10 to $20 per 17-ounce bottle. Dunk whole-grain bread in olive oil, or drizzle over grilled vegetables. Or try our Shrimp With Garlic in Olive Oil recipe.
Recipe by Mark Bittman
Serve this with lemon wedges and crusty bread to sop up the delicious juices from the pan.