Health & Spirit

Live sofrito and thrive!

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Olive oil has been the liquid gold of Italian cuisine since 4,000 B.C., according to evidence found in an ancient pottery jar in central Italy. Its powers have been tapped for health reasons for millennia too! Around 350 B.C., the Greek philosopher Aristotle declared, as part of a topical rub, it could ease insomnia in elephants. (That's a problem they have?!). But we get a kick out of the writer Jane Wagner's pithy question about the lovely lipid: "If olive oil comes from olives, then where does baby oil come from?"

Enough joking around. New research in the journal Molecules shows that if you want to get the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, you need to adopt the region's cooking methods too.

The researchers looked at the nutrition-unleashing benefits of sofrito -- it's a time-honored mix of onions, garlic and tomatoes (plus veggies such as celery and carrots) slowly sauteed in extra-virgin olive oil and added to everything from pasta and fish to steamed veggies. They found that cooking in EVOO releases bioactive compounds (polyphenols, carotenoids) in those ingredients. The result is that they are more easily absorbed and used by your gut biome and body, resulting in profound benefits to your heart health, insulin sensitivity and conversion of white fat to brown fat (which speeds up your metabolism) -- all well-known effects of the Mediterranean diet. The tomato sofrito recipe that the researchers used: 3 1/2 ounces EVOO, 14 ounces onion, 1.4 ounces garlic and a pound of tomatoes. You can scale it back proportionately.


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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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