Olive oil is extracted from olive fruits, which belong to a group of fruits called drupes. The olive tree is a traditional tree crop in the Mediterranean region. Olive oil is universally recognized as one of the world’s healthiest oils. It has a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids like oil from nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts. Its colour varies from clear yellow to golden. Studies show that in the regions where it is part of the staple diet, people tend to live longer and healthier lives. Olive oil is commonly used for cooking. It is also used in medicine, cosmetics, and in making soaps.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are the Different Types of Olive Oil?
- 2 Nutritional Composition of 100g of extra -virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Benefits of Olive Oil
- 3.1 Olive Oil is Healthy for Cooking
- 3.2 It Has Numerous Health Benefits
- 3.3 Olive Oil Promotes Skin Health
- 3.4 Promotes Hair Growth
- 4 Bottom Line
What are the Different Types of Olive Oil?
Olive oils are classified according to their extraction process, acidity content, and flavour. It is important to familiarise yourself with the various typesbefore you buy a bottle of oil since they serve specific functions. Each type of oil has a different smoke point, which depends on the quality of the oil.
Extra- virgin Olive Oil:
It has the highest quality and is made from the first pressing of olives. Chemicals and high heat are not used in the extraction process, and no further processing or refining occurs after pressing. Extra-virgin oil is the most expensive and the best since it reserves most of the natural flavour and aroma. It is rich in antioxidants called polyphenolsand has the highest percentage of minerals and vitamins found in olives.
Virgin Olive Oil:
It is the second in quality after the extra-virgin oil with a slightly higher acidity level. No chemicals or heat are used during its extraction. It is suitable for low-heat cooking purposes.
Refined Olive Oil:
It is inferior in quality due to low amounts of vitamins and nutrients and also lacks antioxidants. The refined oil is clear, odorless, and has a long shelf life. It is good for high-temperature cooking.
Pure Olive Oil:
This is made by blending extra-virgin or virgin oil with the refined form of olive oil. The blending is done when refined oil does not meet the required quality specifications. It improves the flavour and also adds vitamin E to the oil. It is great for hair scalp and skin.
Olive Pomace Oil:
This is the lowest quality of olive oil extracted from the residual left after the pressing process. It is then mixed with virgin oil to improve its quality. It is suitable for high heat cooking.
Nutritional Composition of 100g of extra -virgin Olive Oil
- Calories -884
- Total Fat- 100g
- Poly Unsaturated Fats -11g
- Saturated fats -14g
- Mono-unsaturated fats- 73g
- Trans Fats- 0g
- Sodium -2mg
- Potassium -1 mg
Benefits of Olive Oil
Olive oil has many health benefits for our skin, hair, and health. These benefits are due to the abundance of phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the antioxidants found in olive oil include flavonoids, phenols, squalene, beta-carotene, and tocopherols.
The main phenolic compounds in olive oil are oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and oleanolic acid. Olives are also a good source of vitamins and minerals. In the Mediterranean where olive oil is grown and consumed most, there are lowest cases of deaths from cardiovascular diseases. Read on to discover the benefits of olive oil.
Olive Oil is Healthy for Cooking
Olive oil is one of the best oil for cooking due to its high antioxidant level and low polyunsaturated fat content. It retains its beneficial qualities during cooking since it is resistant to heat and does not oxidiseor go rancid during the cooking process. It can also increase the nutrient content in your food since the antioxidants are resistant to heat and do not break down and end up being absorbed by the cooked food. It also helps food to retain nutrients that are usually lost during cooking.
It Has Numerous Health Benefits
Promotes Heart health
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the world. Studies show that heart diseases are low in the Mediterranean where olive oil is part of their diet, which is an indication that it helps in preventing heart diseases.
How does Extra-virgin oil protect against heart diseases?
- Reduce inflammation.
The predominant fatty acid in olive oil is oleic acid, which makes up 73% of the total oil content. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, reduces inflammationwhich is a key cause of heart diseases. Olive oil also helps to slow down the aging of the heart, which lowers the risk of stroke in older people.
- Lowers Blood Pressure.
Studies show that Extra-virgin olive oil lowers blood pressure.
- Improves Cholesterol Levels in the Body
It reduces the low-density lipoproteins “bad cholesterol” and increases the level of High-density lipoproteins “good cholesterol. Bad cholesterol cause clogging of blood vessels and is one of the key causes of heart diseases. It also helps to prevent oxidation damage of low-density lipoproteins.
- Help to Reduce the Chances of Blood Clotting.
Blood clotting is one of the major causes of heart attack and stroke. Incorporating olive oil in our diet may help to prevent blood clotting. It boasts a component of good cholesterol called apoA-IV, which helps to protect against platelet aggregation that can cause heart attacks.
Helps to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by the ineffectiveness of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose from the blood to the cell to where it is converted to energy. Research shows that including olive oil, which is rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats, in your diet may help to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. The phenol compounds in olive oil helps in glucose metabolism and improve the effectiveness of insulin.
Olive Oil Helps to Prevent Cancer
Cancer is a leading cause of death and is marked by the uncontrolled growth of cells. One of the key causes of cancer is oxidative damage caused by free radicles. Antioxidants which are abundant in olive oils help to reduce the oxidative damage. Oleic acid present in olive oils is also resistant to oxidation than polyunsaturated acid that is abundant in seed oils, which helps in the prevention of cancer. Studies show that in Mediterranean regions where olive oil is the most consumed, cases of cancer are lower than in other western countries.
Prevents Alzheimer Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading causes of dementia. It is characterized by a buildup of protein tangles (beta-amyloid plaques) in the brain. In a study done on mice, oleocanthal, a phenolic compound in extra-virgin olive oil, helped to improve learning and memory by clearing the plagues. In humans, a study showed that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil improved brain functionality and reduce age-related dementia. Olive oil also protects the blood vessels in the brain.
Olive oil helps to strengthen bones too. Studies show that osteoporosisis lower in Mediterranean countries where olive oil is consumed most. A research conducted on men in this region indicated that their blood had higher levels of osteocalcin, which is a marker of healthy bones. Osteoporosis leads to a decrease in bone quality and increases the risk of fractures.
It Promotes Gut Health
Nutrients in olive oil kill harmful bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori, bacteria that is linked to peptic ulcers and stomach cancer. Studies show that extra-virgin oil effectively fights these bacteria. A daily intake of 30g of olive oil can eliminate Helicobacter pylori in two weeks. Olive oil can also be a remedy for constipation. The consistency and texture of the oil help in the smooth movement of food through the colon. Taking this oil daily helps to prevent constipation.
Olive Oil Promotes Skin Health
The presence of antioxidants in olive oil makes it great to our skin by preventing oxidation, a process that can produce free radicles. Free radicles have the potential to damage your skin. Antioxidants help to gather and neutralize the radicles. This process protects the skin from premature aging and lowers the risk of skin cancer.
Vitamins E, an oxidant in the olive oil, may also protect the skin from external factors such as harsh sun rays. Olive oil is a natural moisturizer that helps to moisturize your skin. Its light texture makes it comfortable on the skin and improves its elasticity. It suits all skin types. Olive oil can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions such as psoriasis and foot ulcers in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Promotes Hair Growth
Olive oil can work wonders on your hair. It is an active ingredient in many hair products. Vitamin E helps to prevent hair loss and also to reduce dandruff by keeping the scalp moisturized. Olive oil contains other nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and sulfur, which aid hair growth.
Massaging the hair and the scalp with olive oil improves the blood flow to the hair follicles, which are then stimulated to grow thicker strands of hair. Palmitic acid, oleic acid, squalene, and terpenes in olive oil acts as a natural hair conditioner. They make the hair soft and smooth, which decreases its tangling.
Buying the proper kind of olive oil is of uttermost importance. Extra- virgin oil is the healthiest as it retains more antioxidants and bioactive compounds from olives, making it the best choice. It also has a smoke point of 190 c, which makes it safe for most cooking methods.
Excessive use of olive oil can damage your skin and also cause acne. This harm is because oil is heavy and does not absorb into your skin fast, and therefore can cause clogging of your pores. It should hence be applied sparingly. Olive oil can also cause allergies though the cases are few. Finally, it is not suitable for baby sensitive skin and can cause rashes and redness of their skin.