What are the health benefits of olive oil?
Olive oil, being a part of the Mediterranean diet, and used a thousand years ago by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is trusted a lot for its health benefits. Monosaturated fatty acids as its most important ingredient provide incomparable benefits to the heart and to other parts of the body when consumed on regular basis.
A study proved that having regular Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with having other low fat diets. Olive oil is also said to be good for bone health, weight loss and brain health. It also relieves constipation and reduces oxidative stress.
What is good about its composition?
Olive oil is rich in mono saturated fatty acids which give less fat load to the body. It is also rich in phenolics, the acidic constituent which gives the oil its acidic and bitter taste. It has ZERO CARBOHYDRATE and ZERO PROTEINwith only traces of saturated fat in it. It also has vitamin E and vitamin K which are good for the skin. The phenolic acids are very good for the heart too.
What is extra virgin olive oil? Is there anything really extra virgin about it?
The term ‘virgin olive oil’ doesn’t describe its quality, and extra virgin olive oil doesn’t mean it is extra pure. The difference is in the process of manufacturing. There are 4 grades of virgin olive oil. The lowest grade of virgin olive oil is used in soap making, and is not fit for consumption.
The extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade of olive oil which is cold pressed, and is superior in taste and aroma. This is not heated beyond 86 degree Fahrenheit.
A lot of fake oil is being circulated, especially when it comes to extra virgin olive oil. The University of California conducted tests among many brands in the US that have a tag of extra virgin olive oil to them.The study came up with this devastating fact: High 69% of extra virgin olive oil sold in the US stores is FAKE!!!
Next time you see the tag ‘extra virgin olive oil’, it should truly remind you to be extra cautious!
So, how do you actually know if it is fake olive oil or original olive oil you are buying? The tastes of the fake and original oils being similar, you need to find another way to differentiate between the fake and original olive oil.
What’s fake olive oil and how prevalent is its circulation?
Well, the fake olive oil can be a 2 oil combo – a part of sunflower oil with some pure olive oil. This type of fake oil can be identified as extra virgin olive oil. And it also can be substandard, a mixture of numerous olive oils from different countries in the world. Also, it can be non-Italian oil – just a combo of soybean oil and some sunflower oil. They can also add some additives of chlorophyll, and some beta carotene, and this oil can be identified as extra virgin olive oil. You should be extra careful when you check out the tags of extra pure and extra virgin.
How to know if it is a FAKE olive oil? What are the tests to help you differentiate fake olive oil from original olive oil?
Here’s what you need to do – you can perform this simple test at your own home. When you buy “extra virgin olive oil” you need to cool it. If the olive oil strengthens, this means that it has more mono saturated fats in it. But, this still doesn’t eliminate the presence of other oils, such as: sunflower or canola oil, or any other oils. Well, on the other hand, if this oil doesn’t strengthen, this means that it’s not extra virgin oil at all.
Here’s another test – the extra virgin oil is expected to keep the oil lam flammable. But, again, this is not 100% accurate test. But, if the oil doesn’t light the lamp for a longer time, this means that it’s definitely not an extra virgin olive oil. So, what’s the bottom line – the test, the taste, the refrigerator test or the lamp test are not very precise or dependable methods to find out the truth about your olive oil. So, what’s your best option – well, your very best option is to buy olive oil from your neighborhood farmers. The olive oil from Italy is considered to be standard, compared to the olive oil from other countries.
Look for Certification
And, you should always look for 3rd party qualification on the packaging, when you buy extra virgin olive oil in the super markets. These two associations – The California Olive Oil Council and The Australian Olive Association – they both have stringent accreditation programs that make their seals trustworthy. And you should also know that when you are buying olive oil made or packaged in Italy, search for PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) or PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) seals.