Learn How To Properly Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Given how the supermarket shelves are saturated with olive oil brands, there is often a confusion between Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pure Olive Oil, Light Olive Oil and a variety of other variants.
To simplify this matter, it is good to know that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the first round of oil pressed out of olives and this has the best flavour and most health benefits, as compared to the subsequent extractions of oil. As a result, that’s the reason it is also the most expensive variant of olive oil.
Typically, a good extra virgin olive oil brand will be dark golden in colour, have a grassy aroma to it and will be sold in a tinted glass bottle. This oil is unrefined, retains the flavour of olives and has the least free oleic acid content (<1%). The next in line is virgin olive oil, similar to extra virgin but has an oleic acid content of >1%, a less intense colour and flavour. Virgin olive oils are rarely sold in the supermarkets nowadays.
What is sold as ‘pure’ Olive Oil or just ‘Olive Oil’ is generally a blend of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil, as a result, available at a lesser cost (oleic acid content is 3-4%). In addition, this blend is suited to cooking at low temperatures, generally an all-purpose oil. The other commonly sold variant is a ‘Light Olive Oil’ that is pale yellow like any other refined vegetable oil.
This retains very few health properties or antioxidants. The LIGHT word in this term can be misleading. It stands for the light colour and not for a reduced calorie oil. The calories in Light Olive Oil are same as that of any other oil.
Benefits Of Using Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
There’s something about the rich colour and flavour of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, that none of the other olive oils come close, especially when you eat it raw in salads. Just by itself it adds a boost of freshness and flavour, only to be enhanced by the other ingredients you add to it.
A certain component in Extra Virgin Olive Oil called hydroxytyrosol prevents oxidation in the lining of the blood vessels, thereby protecting cardiovascular health.
The larger proportion of monounsaturated fats in olive oil helps lower bad cholesterol and it is also said to reduce blood pressure.
Furthermore, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is said to possess a higher dose of antioxidants (phytonutrients) than non-virgin olive oils, thereby having more potent anti-inflammatory properties. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a good source of vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant by itself.
- Alexis Barros