What Makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil The Healthiest Fat
Fats are always surrounded by controversies. You have saturated fats, unsaturated fats, trans fats…phew! Some are healthy and some are not. There are a lot of debates on the kind of fats that are healthy. Fortunately a large group of people agree that extra virgin oil is healthy.
What Makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil The Healthiest Fat?
Extra virgin olive oil is a part of the traditional Mediterranean diet. In fact it is a staple for the people of that part of the world.
Studies have found out that the fatty acids and antioxidants present in extra virgin olive oil have lots of health benefits to offer including a reduced risk of heart trouble.
What is olive oil?
Though olive oil has thronged the supermarket shelves, it is relatively new to our culture, right? So, how is it made? Olives are the fruits of the olive tree. They are pressed to get the oil. It is that simple!! But there is a problem here too as certain low quality versions extract oil using chemical methods or mix cheaper oils into the olive oil.
Which is the best olive oil?
It becomes essential to purchase the right kind of olive oil and that too from a trusted brand. The best olive oil award goes to extra virgin olive oil. The methods of extraction are natural and there is a guarantee of purity.
Extra virgin olive oil has a distinctive taste with high levels of antioxidants. This presence of antioxidants makes olive oil beneficial for health.
There are other categories of olive oil such as refined, light. These are extracted using chemicals, with heat processes and even involve dilution with cheaper oils.
Extra virgin olive oil is considered to be the best. Just be careful that you buy it from a trusted store and you are sorted!
Nutrient Facts of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is quite nutritious. It contains vitamins E and vitamin K with a plenty of healthy fatty acids.
100 grams of olive oil contain:
- Saturated Fat: 13.8%.
- Monounsaturated Fat: 73%
- Omega-6: 9.7%.
- Omega-3: 0.76%.
Vitamin E content is 72% of the RDA and Vitamin K content is 75% of the RDA.
But the highlight of olive oil is the presence of antioxidants. Antioxidants help in fighting several serious diseases.
Health benefits extra virgin olive oil has to offer:
- It has the ability to fight inflammation. Chronic inflammation causes heart disease, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
- It is found to be protective against cardiovascular disease. Heart disease and strokes are leading causes of death in the world. It protects good cholesterol from oxidation and lowers blood pressure. It also prevents clotting of blood.
- It has shown promise in terms of cancer and Alzheimer’s but human studies have not been done in detail to confirm the benefits yet.
Now the million dollar question- Can you cook with it?
While cooking, fatty acids react with oxygen and get damaged. Olive oil is actually fairly resistant to high heat. To find out extra virgin olive oil was heated to 180 degrees Celsius for 36 long hours. The oil was found to be resistant to damage.
Now, you must be wondering whether you can deep fry in this oil? A study was done for that too. It took the oil around 27 hours to reach damaged levels. So, I guess it can be fairly used for deep frying too.
Hope you found this post useful!
Try including extra virgin olive oil in your diet!
P.S – For Indian Cooking, Extra Virgin Oil is a good option if you are okay with its tangy taste and don’t deep fry and reuse the oil a lot. – Tarun
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