Olive Oil: Healthiest Oil around

Olive Oil: Healthiest Oil around

With so much literature and information available very easily, lot of people are well versed with the altest trends in nutrition and health. One most talked about topic is about olive oil. Olive oil is a popular choice amongst the fruit oils available, due to its numerous uses. Extracted from Olive, the botanical name of which is Olea europaea, this traditional plant is basically a crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is extensively brought to use in cooking.

Olive oil is very valuable for the physical wellbeing of humans, owing to the multitude of health benefits it offers. It has a high content of monounsaturated fat (mainly oleic acid) and polyphenols. The best part about using Olive oil is that it has a pretty long shelf life. It can be preserved without refrigeration for a year. There are distinctive varieties of Olive oil, differing in their quality.

Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is – freshly pressed from the fruit.

Types of olive oil
Olive oil is produced by the pressing or crushing of olive fruit. It comes in different grades, depending on the amount of processing involved. There are unrefined (virgin) grades and refined grades. The less refinement by heat and chemical treatments, the higher the quality of the oil. Virgin varieties of olive oil are believed to offer the greatest health benefits as they retain most of the nutrients from the olive fruit.

Varieties include:

Extra virgin – this oil is the top grade of olive oil. It is made from the first ‘pressing’ of good-quality olives. The oil is removed (extracted) by a traditional cold-pressing method, where no chemicals and only a small amount of heat are applied.
Virgin – this oil is produced from the second pressing of olives or from the second-best grade of olives by cold-pressing. No chemicals are involved and very little heat is used.
Pure – also sold as ‘pure’ olive oil. This type of oil is non-virgin, commercial-grade olive oil. It is ‘pure’ to the extent that it consists only of olive oil. In fact, it consists of the inferior oil that is left after the virgin oil has been removed from lower-quality olives. This oil is then refined using heat, chemical solvents, high pressure and filtration treatments. Finally, it is mixed with a small quantity of virgin olive oil to restore colour and flavour.
Light and extra light – these oils are produced from the last pressing of olives. They are more refined and of a lower quality than the other grades. There is little of the natural olive flavour and colour left in these oils.

Hence Extra virgin and virgin oils are better as they are not processed chemically. “Extra-virgin” or “virgin” olive oils are the least processed forms. As a result, they contain the highest levels of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant and provides good level of Vitamin E in our body. This vitamin has the property to delay the change of the cellular structure which leads to natural decadence, the people’s aging, so one of the best medicaments for delaying aging is the olive oil and as it is high in antioxidants, it helps to fight cancer. A mono unsaturated fatty acid called Oleic acid has significant protective effects against cancer and is believed to suppress a gene responsible for over 25% of breast cancers. Olive oil may help prevent ovarian cancer, colon cancer and also skin cancer. It has the ability to reduce the affect of an oncogene, a gene that will turn a host cell into a cancer cell. It can even help to fight breast cancer.

Olive oil helps the normal function of the digestive system reducing to minimum the chances of ulcer creation and the other relative diseases, not to mention that is the best natural medicament for the fight against constipation.

Cardiovascular diseases : It has been estimated that cardiovascular diseases are the top causes of death in the industrialized world. However it has also been recorded that the countries, which use olive oil in their staple food, have low incidences of heart failures. Olive oil has an effect in preventing the formation of blood clots and platelet aggregation. It helps in avoiding excessive blood coagulation. It can attenuate the effect of fatty foods in encouraging blood clot formation.

When cooking with fats, olive oil is a healthy choice. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels in your blood. In contrast, saturated and trans fats — such as butter, tropical oils and hydrogenated margarines — increase your risk of heart disease by increasing your total and LDL cholesterol levels.

Blood pressure : Regular consumption of olive oil decreases both systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) blood pressure.

Diabetes : An olive-oil-rich diet is not only a good alternative in the treatment of diabetes, but also helps in preventing or delaying the onset of the disease.

Obesity and abdominal fat : Olive oil is high in calories like any other fats and oils, but the research states that, there is less obesity amongst the Mediterranean peoples, who consume the most of olive oil. Olive oil rich diet helps in greater and long lasting weight loss than a low fat diet. Moderate amounts of olive oil will also reduce abdominal fat, if eaten as part of a diet high in plant foods.

Pregnancy : Olive oil plays a key role in fetal development during pregnancy. If women consume olive oil during pregnancy, they give birth to children better in terms of height, weight behaviour and psychomotor reflexes.

Skin : Olive oil plays an important role in the prevention of continuous oxidation, one of the processes that influences the development of certain types of skin cancer.

Natural Painkiller : Good quality olive oil contains a natural chemical that acts like a painkiller. 50g of extra-virgin olive oil was equivalent to about a tenth of a dose of ibuprofen.

Other Benefits : it maintains metabolism and contributes to the development of the brain and bones in children.

It can be used in salads or added in the cooking process of almost any recipe and can be used in Indian cooking.

Olive Oil is the healthiest type of oil with 0% cholesterol, rich in Vitamins against aging and perfect even for frying dishes. Olive oil is the best nutritional gift we can offer to ourselves. Olive oil helps us keep good in health making our life pleasant.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day may reduce your risk of heart disease. You can get the most benefit by substituting olive oil for saturated fats rather than just adding more olive oil to your diet.

Hence switch over to olive oil and reap the benefits.

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India.She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore.Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

2 Replies to “Olive Oil: Healthiest Oil around”

  1. hello dr.sanjana, i m mamta, i m 47years old, sometimes i suffered from high blood pressure and ill health in winters, could u tell me olive oil is good for me and also tell me how is the combination of olive oil with desi ghee and canola oil for me?

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