Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil is Healthy

AOA-ask-jacqui

Ask Jacqui, your everyday dietitian!

If you have a question about the health benefits of Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
ask Jacqui at: dietitian@australianolives.com.au 

 

Meet Jacqui Plozza – the smiling, smart and passionate dietitian and nutritionist behind all of the health facts and figures at Everyday.

After working as a dietitian in the public and private sector for many years Jacqui, who also works at Cobram Estate as their Nutrition Strategy and Education Manager, has joined Everyday to provide the hard facts, evidence and truth behind why Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is so good for you!

We sat down with Jacqui to find out more about her love for food, EVOO and the good life, here’s what she had to say…

Can you tell us about your earliest memories of food/nutrition?

My Pop had a great veggie garden and I loved going to his place as a kid and learning all about where my food was coming from. He could grow fruit and veggies anywhere. He’d make us cooked breakfasts with fresh eggs on toast, always served with some kind of fruit or veg fresh from his garden.

What first sparked your interest in a career in food/nutrition?

Both my Dad and my sister have Type 1 Diabetes, my Dad was diagnosed in his 20s and my sister was in her early teens. Although it’s an autoimmune condition and not caused by lifestyle, healthy lifestyle choices are an important part of managing it.

Growing up living and breathing the human side of a chronic health condition just naturally sparked my interest in health and nutrition, I’ve always loved learning about physiology and health conditions and anything to do with food. I think the fact that food and nutrition has a massive impact on our health, and that a career in dietetics meant that I could talk about food all day, it was a no-brainer for me.

What did you have to study to become a dietitian?

I studied for five years to become a dietitian. I started out doing a Bachelor of Science and I majored in applied biology and went on to do a Masters in nutrition and dietetics. I also ensured that the University I chose was accredited by the Dietitians Association of Australia. This means that I am accredited to not only provide evidence based nutrition information to various industries, like the food industry, I can also provide individuals with dietary counselling and medical nutrition therapy to people with specific medical conditions.

How has your career progressed?

The great thing about dietetics is that you can actually work in a lot of diverse roles and settings, and that makes for a passionate and engaged workforce. Like many dietitians, I thought I needed to start my career in a hospital, but that’s just not the case, or a field of work I love. After finishing my Masters I was lucky enough to score a role with a really experienced dietitian who was very business savvy and a great inspiration. I had another part time dietetic role at the time, so I was able to experience incredibly diverse aspects of the job, which skilled me up pretty quickly.

I worked in private practice, aged care, hospitals, weight loss and mental health clinics. I then went on to work in other areas covering the community, public health and private health care settings. I’ve always enjoyed the variety of work but am loving working as a dietitian for the Australian Olive industry. It’s pretty rewarding being able to educate people on the health benefits of such a healthy and high quality food. There is such solid evidence behind how healthy EVOO is, it makes my role a pleasure!

Have you always used EVOO in your cooking? What have you learnt about EVOO since working with the industry?

I have always used EVOO but before working with the Australian Olive Association I was in the dark about how much quality and variety we have in Australia and the difference EVOO can make to the taste of food. I’ve definitely become more adventurous with my cooking since learning more about EVOO. A real turning point for me was realising the huge difference between the taste, quality and the health benefits of EVOO compared with Olive Oil.

The fact that there are over 30 different natural plant phenols and antioxidants that we know of in EVOO is pretty amazing, and far more than any other oil on the market. It’s one of the big reasons that EVOO is so good for you. Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil producers have so much knowledge and good news to share with Australians it’s exciting to be working with them to do just that.

What is your favourite thing to cook with EVOO?

Broccoli! I know that sounds plain but it’s not. Most Australians don’t get enough veggies in their diet, in fact, only about 5% of the population are getting enough, but veggies don’t have to be boring. Cooking them in EVOO actually makes veggies taste better and also helps your body absorb more of the nutrients and powerful antioxidants in the vegetables. I blanch the broccoli in boiling water for about one minute and then sauté it in EVOO with shallots and lemon zest, it only needs a couple of minutes.

I also love swapping the lemon for lemon infused EVOO. It takes five mins to cook and the veggies stay crisp and much tastier.

What’s the most common myth about EVOO?

The biggest myth out there is that you can’t cook with EVOO. You absolutely can and you should cook with EVOO and dietitians are very keen to bust that myth with their patients and with the general public. If it’s good quality EVOO it has a high smoke point, well above cooking temperatures we use at home, including frying, roasting and baking. More importantly, because it’s high in antioxidants and high in monounsaturated fat, which is a stable fat, it’s also very stable under heat. It makes your food taste better and it’s healthier than other cooking oils, so it just makes sense to cook with it.

What is the one thing you’d like Australians to know about their diet/nutrition?

Food is meant to be enjoyed, and placing moral judgement or guilt around food can trip people up. Once people learn to love and enjoy food, then good quality, healthy foods, like EVOO, become everyday staples, while less healthy more processed foods become something you have less often. I really think that your health, wellbeing and enjoyment of food can only benefit from this approach.

 

If you have a question about the health benefits of Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil,
ask Jacqui at: dietitian@australianolives.com.au