Olive oil – what is olive oil made from?
Olive oil is extracted from olive fruits and grow on olive trees. It has long seen to be part of a Mediterranean diet and were worshipped as gifts from the Greek gods in mythology.
When we look at olive oil more closely and what it is made up of, it is comprised of fatty acids and is packed with oleic acid. Cooking with olive oil instead has been scientifically proven to help reduce blood pressure levels. This can be maintained in the long-term, especially if other types cooking oil are replaced by olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats which can help form a protection layer around our arteries walls, hence reducing the build-up of cholesterol.
In terms of quality, pure olive oil is lower quality than extra-virgin or virgin olive oil, and the main difference in the production of these two types of oils is due to extraction process – and how the oil is extracted. The difference is massive because the content of oleic acid is most likely to lower in virgin olive oil and the use of additives to be lower too.
This means that the best type of olive oil to buy and incorporate in your diet is unrefined extra-virgin olive oil. The label on the bottle should state that it is “extra-virgin”, as the process of its extraction has preserved its natural minerals and vitamins content that are naturally occurring in olives.
Why is extra-virgin olive oil better for health?
Extra-virgin olive oil is more natural and has not been treated with chemicals, nor has the vitamins it contains been damaged by high-temperature. In this way, you can be sure that antioxidants in the olive oil are preserved. A good tip would be to look out for olive oil that explicitly states on the label that it is “cold-pressed” or “extra-virgin”.
Consuming extra virgin olive oil can help protect you against many health issues because it contains a lot of antioxidants, reduce blood pressure levels, helping to reduce the likelihood of heart problems.
In the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they compared the incidence of cancer, and found that Mediterranean countries (that consumed olive oil as part of their diet) had a lower incidence of cancer than in Scandinavian countries, USA, and the UK. Cooking with olive oil instead of other oil types may also help with weight management, as some studies have shown that it may slow stomach contractions, making you feel full for longer. These are just a snapshot of how changing the oil you use in your cooking can help you reap these health benefits for yourself and your family.