If you are one who enjoys whipping up recipes in your kitchen or spending hours glued to cooking shows, then olive oil will not be a stranger to you. Olive oil is regarded as one of the healthiest oils in the world and is widely used and recommended by the most famous of chefs.
However, there is more to olive oil than merely being a special kitchen ingredient. Did you know that people from the Mediterranean — where olive oil is produced and consumed the most — recorded the lowest mortality rates across the globe, when it boils down to cardiovascular diseases? In fact, several studies have shown individuals who reside in regions where olive oil is a staple part of their diet tend to lead healthier lives and live longer.
Excited, much? Hold your horses, there’s more!
Olive oil also possesses the ability to help reduce your blood pressure, aids in weight loss, lowers your cholesterol level, inhibits the production of cancer cells and prevents arthritis, among many others. Health experts swear by extra virgin olive oil for major health benefits, and for good reason. Extra virgin olive oil is olive oil of the highest quality, having been extracted from the olive fruit without the use of any chemicals or heat.
Allow us to present to you the magnificent world of olive oil!
Types of Olive Oil
When strolling by the rows of shelves in the supermarket with your shopping carts, you might notice a good variety of olive oils that made front row. Here’s a quick insight into the different kinds of olive oil that you may or may not know of.
Virgin Olive Oil
Without a doubt, virgin olive oil is the most popular of its variety and is the most recognisable cooking oil with an extremely low acid content. It is ideal for those who wish to reap the benefits of olive oil, without breaking their banks.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extracted by cold pressing the olive fruit, this oil is regarded as the elite and believed to be the best for your body. However, not everyone can afford the regular use of extra virgin olive oil, due to its high cost.
Pure Olive Oil
This oil is a mixture of refined and virgin olive oils. It has a high acidic content and higher heating point, which makes it more suitable for deep frying, high-heat cooking or when you require neutral-flavoured oil for certain recipes.
Lampante oil is the lowest grade of olive oil. It contains a natural acidity of beyond 3.3% and may emit an unpleasant aroma and taste. Lampante oil is unsuitable for cooking and deemed unfit for human consumption, so you won’t find this in your nearest supermarket.
Benefits of Olive Oil
The benefits of olive oil are many. Here are some:
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Up to date, heart disease is the most common cause of death around the world. Observational studies conducted a couple of decades ago revealed lower mortality rates stemming from heart diseases in Mediterranean countries, which then led to extensive research on their diet. It is found that extra virgin olive oil is one of the key staples in the Mediterranean diet — one that has now been proven to significantly reduce heart risk. In addition, olive oil has been discovered to protect low-density lipoprotein or LDL (the 'bad' cholesterol) from oxidation, enhances the lining of blood vessels, minimises inflammation and may aid in preventing excessive blood clotting. If you have a family history of heart disease or any other major risk factor, incorporating extra virgin olive oil into your diet may be a good idea.
Not Associated with Weight Gain
We are all aware that consuming excessive amounts of fat causes weight gain. However, several studies have shown that a diet rich in olive oil translates into favourable body effects, such as minimal weight gain. In one study involving 7,000 Spanish college students, consuming an above-average amount of olive oil has not resulted in any weight gain. In a separate study, a diet with an abundant amount of olive oil was found to increase antioxidant levels in the blood, as well as promoting weight loss.
People in the Mediterranean regions were found to be at lower risk of some cancers and researchers believe the constant presence of olive oil in their diet may be the key. Olive oil contains antioxidants, which are believed to possess the ability to reduce oxidative damage caused by free radicals, a leading source of cancer. Moreover, numerous test-tube studies have demonstrated that the compound in olive oil is effective in the fight against cancer cells.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes painful and deformed joints. A steady supply of olive oil to the body has been found to reduce oxidative stress and improve inflammatory markers in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Experts recommend combining olive oil with fish oil — a source loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids — to reap the best benefits.
Olive Oil For The Win
Olive oil, especially the extra virgin version, is incredibly healthy and offers a wide range benefits for its consumers. Give it a try and experience amazing results for yourself.