Thinking of switching to olive oil? Here's how to choose the perfect olive oil for your well-being.
If you have read about Greece, Spain and other Mediterranean lands, you will
definitely agree to its people's health, looks and strength. They
belong to the land where olives grow. Since a few years we have been
hearing about the goodness and benefits of olive oil more than often. Doctors, dieticians and nutritionists swear by it. But why such a hullabaloo about an oil? The Mediterranean fruit and diet are under the spotlight. Find out what a sprinkling of the olive oil can do to your health and how can you buy the right olive oil.
Olive oil has been extracted, used and consumed over the centuries. It
is known to have healing properties. In some religious sects it is even
used for holy rituals and purposes. Replace other oils with olive oil,
can make a big difference to health.
It has studied and noted that the Mediterranean region
compared to other countries has lower levels of cardiovascular,
cancerous and other degenerative diseases. This state of health is
attributed to the liberal use of olive oil in their diet.
Olive oil for good health
Olive reduces the levels of LDL (the bad cholesterol) which
contributes to the build up of fatty deposits in arteries. It helps
remove the LDL with the HDL (good cholesterol) it gives the body. It lowers cholesterol levels thus reducing the rate of heart attacks.
Olive oil has anti-inflammatory and has anti-oxidant properties. It
increases enzymes that blocks the formation of carcinogens and helps
them to be removed from the body. Scientists believe that olive oil has
monosaturated fats that help control cholesterol levels and even the bile acids that lead to colon cancer.
Olive Oil maintains metabolism and helps in development of brains and
bones. This makes it very important for a child's diet. It is also a
good source of vitamin E and keeps skin supple. An olive oil hair massage can make hair healthy and radiant.
Olive oil and weight loss
Fatty oils, butter, margarine and ghee can be replaced by olive oil
when you are trying to lose weight. It must be used sparingly over salads,
breads, side dishes, eggs and in sauces.
Several studies and health experts indicate that olive oil helps reduce
and maintain weight since monosaturated fats helps breakdown the stored
fat. Olive can be used to maintain a healthy eating routine too.
Types of Olive Oil
You might have come across bottles and cans of olive oil that have the
type of olive oil written on it. But how would you differentiate
amongst them and buy what you want? Here's a break up that can help you
differentiate and choose from the various categories. These are graded
according to the levels of acidity present in the oil.
1. Extra Virgin
This oil comes from the first pressing of the fresh olives. It
has a green colour and a distinct flavour. It is high quality olive
oil. It has the highest amount of monosaturated fats. This is the best
you can buy. It has significant amounts of pro vitamin A and E which
prevent oxidation of LDL's. There can never be refined extra virgin
oil. It is good for sprinkling on salads and pastas.
This is the second time the olives are pressed and has fewer nutrients
since it is being squeezed again. This olive oil burns faster.
This olive oil undergoes under processing and filtering. This
olive oil is golden yellow in colour. It is a blend of refined olive
oil and extra virgin olive oil. The filtered oil has a neutral taste and extra virgin olive oil is added to it to give it some flavour. It is called pure since no non-olive oils are mixed into it.
4. Extra light
Undergoes a lot of processing and has a mild olive flavour to it. This
does not contain lesser fats. It is a mixture of refined oils made from
the lowest quality of olive oils through chemical processing. This
olive oil cannot be consumed without refining.
5. Refined Olive-Pomace Oil
This olive oil is obtained by treating olive pomace with solvents. Avoid buying this olive oil. It is not good for consumption.
6. Olive-Pomace Oil
This olive oil is a mix of refined olive pomace oil and virgin
olive oil. Avoid Buying this category of olive oil. It is not meant for
Never buy something that says 'blended' olive oil, if you are
looking for pure olive oil. A non olive oil is used to make up most of
the oil content.
How to look for genuine olive oil
Check the colour of the oil, although colours do not indicate quality. Look for the rich green colour if you want to buy extra virgin olive oil.
If you can taste it then check a variety you will see a
difference. Something that has greenish rich colour may taste ripe and
have a peppery flavour. Whereas a golden tinged one might taste
buttery. Avoid olive oil that is bland and flavourless. Find the
flavour you like the best.
Always read labels carefully. It will definitely give you
some idea about the olive oil. Check the various types of olive oil. Is
it filtered or unfiltered? A test you can use is, look at the bottom,
if you can see any sediments. If there are any then it is an unfiltered
Stay away from cheap versions of olive oil. Do not buy brands
that you are not aware of. Never buy olive oil in plastic bottles, the
PVC of the bottle affects the flavour. To be on a safer side go for
reputed brands like Figaro, Olitalia or Bertolli.
Storing olive oil
Olive oil shares many similarities with wine. Both are derived from fruits. The place the fruit is grown in, the soil, climate and method
of extracting oil affect the quality of oil. Just like wine. Storing
the oil correctly is also very important to retain the quality and
flavour. It is best to consume olive oil within 12-18 months of its manufacturing date.
Chances of olive oil going rancid are high. Refrigeration can keep the
flavour and quality intact. However bring it to room temperature before
you use it. Always keep olive oil in a tinted glass bottle or porcelain
jars, in a cool dark place. The cap should be tight.
If you have decided to switch to olive oil then finding the
right olive oil must not be a problem anymore. While you are going
dizzy at the supermarket looking for the right olive oil, now you can be sure what to look for and enjoy the goodness of olive oil.