You must have heard a lot these days about olive oil, which is said to be a healthier substitute to the ordinary vegetable oil that you use for cooking your dishes. You must have even bought a couple of bottles of it already and enjoying its taste, but have you ever wondered just how it is better than other cooking oils?
What Is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is extracted from the fruit of the olive trees. See our article on olive leaf. As a standard, no oil can be labeled as “olive oil” if it has been mixed with other vegetable oils, therefore, when you buy a bottle of olive oil, you can be sure that it is pure.
The extraction process to make olive oil consists of pressing, decantation, centrifugation, and filtration. Although the process is almost the same in all manufacturers, the grade of oil produced could still vary depending on the quality and maturity of the fruits used. The more mature the fruits, the more flavorful the resulting product would be. Other chemical tests are also conducted on the oil to determine its free fatty acid (FFA) content, which somehow affects its taste too. Except for the refined olive oil which has gone through a refining process, extra virgin olive oil has the least FFA, expressed as oleic acid, which is why it has the highest quality.
Olive oil has a characteristic taste that combines fruity, bitter, and pungent tastes. This distinct flavor makes it stand out in your dishes to give them some added flavor and aroma. Although some cultures are still adjusting to having this flavor in their food, people from the Mediterranean are already used to it as olive oil is a staple in every home. They even dip their breads on olive oil.
Why Is Olive Oil Better?
Due to its many medical properties, olive oil goes beyond just being an ordinary cooking ingredient. It can be used for skin care and as a natural remedy for a host of diseases. Olive oil also contains substances that make you healthy from the inside. These olive oil health benefits are the reason why you should use it instead of your old vegetable oil.
- Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which lowers the level of LDL cholesterols in your body. High LDL level is the main cause of most heart diseases. With the help of olive oil, you can therefore lower your risk of getting a cardiovascular disease.
- The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil will also help stabilize blood sugar levels and heighten insulin sensitivity, both of which will be beneficial for those who are suffering from diabetes.
- Olive oil is also a powerful antioxidant, which can help heal damaged cells in your body.
- Olive oil contains linoleic acid, making it an effective moisturizer to soften the skin on your face and on your body.
- Ingesting olive oil has also shown improvements in bone calcification, which can prevent and cure osteoporosis.
Is Olive Oil Safe?
Olive oil is generally safe to use. There are, however, cases of allergic reactions when it is used directly on the skin. The best thing to do is to test it on a small area of the skin and check for any reaction after 24 hours. If none occurs, you can continue using it on a larger area. You may also want to avoid gulping down tablespoonfuls of olive oil. Although it has healthy fats, it also is high in calories. About 28 grams a day is enough.