We have all heard doctors, nutritionists, movie stars, friends and neighbors rave about olive oil.
Just like we have been using whitening toothpastes without really understanding what it does to our teeth, we have been consuming this super oil without knowing its benefits.
Is Olive Oil Good For You
Many say that olive oil is like wine; the taste, aroma and color differ according to the variety of olive, the harvest location, the soil conditions, the ripeness of the fruit, etc.
Too complicated? I agree. So let’s look at the different types of olive oils available on the market and speak in normal people’s language.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oils are at its purest form; low in acidity (0.8% or less) and free from additives.
It contains much of the fruit’s natural flavor and nutrients. These high-quality fragrant oils are best used for dressings (its price would probably make you shriek at the thought of using it for cooking.)
You can find “premium” and “organic” variants in this category.
Virgin Olive Oil
Just like its higher-end compatriot, the virgin olive oil holds much of the fruit’s vitamins and minerals. What differentiates the two is the level of acidity – virgin olive oils rank in around 1.5% of acidity.
Although not as aromatic as the extra virgin, this oil is flavorful enough to be enjoyed uncooked.
Its nutrient-packed qualities and sensible price make it a good choice for cooking.
Pure Olive Oil
Also known as plain old “olive oil.” When oils do not pass the “virgin oil” test, they go through processing and become “refined.”
This means they lose a great deal of nutrients, flavor and aroma. To make them more palatable, virgin oils are mixed in.
Having a high resistance to heat and a lower-grade taste, pure olive oils are most appropriate for cooking.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
For centuries, people who have adopted the Mediterranean diet have been said to lead more healthful lives and have longer life expectancy.
What is one of the main recurring ingredients? Olive oil!
Olive oil is one of the most wholesome oils; it is packed with good fats and antioxidants (nutrients and vitamins).
The good fats (mostly monounsaturated) found in olive oil are heart-friendly.
They help prevent heart disease, heart attacks, and hypertension (i.e. keeps blood pressure low); research has also shown them to be useful for weight management.
The antioxidant flavonoid aids in the protection of cellular damage and has anti-inflammatory advantages.
It helps relieve the symptoms of asthma, allergies and arthritis.
The vitamin E, an antioxidant, is great for the preservation of healthy skin, hair and nails.
Now that you know the benefits of olive oil, do not go overboard with it.
Remember that despite it being one of the most nutritious oils, like any kind of oil, it is high in calories; so please use in moderation.
Next time you whip out that sunflower oil for your stir-fry or pull out that mayo for your salad, think of the goodness olive oil can do for your health and looks!
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*This article was written by Henriette Huynh; one of our favorite guest bloggers.