The olive oil is popularly known as “liquid gold” due to its innumerable health benefits. Olive oil is derived from the fat of the olive fruits; it is produced by pressing the whole olives. There are various types of olive oil, used for various purposes. Olive oil contains low saturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of heart disease. There are many health benefits of olive oil; it is good for heart, diabetes, weight control and has many other health benefits that we’ll be talking about in this post.
Due to its amazing health benefits, olive oil is used in cooking and for dressing in salad and other recipes. Olive oil is also beneficial for your skin and hence it is used in cosmetics products manufacturing and in pharmaceuticals. Starting from human consumptions to several other purposes, olive oil is truly kind of a liquid gold.
Doctors and physicians often prescribe to reduce the intake of oils in foods to avoid certain fatal diseases like heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, thyroid etc. The moment you reduce the application of oils in your foods you find that the foods taste boring and monotonous.
But olive oil is kind of an exception. When used in moderate quantity, it can actually be beneficial for your health.
Types of olive oil (Jaitun ka tel)
Before we go on to the health benefits of the olive oil, it is better to get acquainted with the oil. There are four kinds of olive oil, which is available in the markets.
- Virgin olive oil: This has very low acid content, and also comes in a reasonable price. This oil is mainly used for cooking.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is probably the best kind of olive oil which can be used in cooking as well as in dressing. Naturally, it is a bit expensive that virgin olive oil.
- Pure olive oil: This oil has very high acid content, and hence unsuitable for use in cooking. This is made by mixing the refined and virgin olive oils.
- Lampante Oil: This is used only as a fuel for the engineering devices and machineries, and hence not suitable for cooking or human consumption.
How to check purity of olive oil
Since olive oil is a precious and expensive commodity, it is important to know that the olive oil that you are buying is actually a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Here’s a detailed post on Forbes about spotting the fake olive oil.
And to ensure that, the best you can do is to buy only from renowned brands and from a reliable grocery shops and stores.
Olive oil is at least 5 times costlier than the normal vegetable oil and hence there is high chance of compromise in the purity of the olive oil. It’s much easier to tamper a bottle or mix other cheaper oil with the pure olive oil.
Once you have bought a bottle of olive oil, you can should for its purity. Because it is important to be sure, that what you have bought is pure and not a fake bottle.
Here’s how you can test the purity of the olive oil
Open the bottle and pour a few table spoon of olive oil into a glass jar
Seal the jar and store it into the fridge for 24 hours
Take out the jar and observe the state of the oil in the jar.
If the oils get solidified, the it’s monounsaturated olive oil and if it remains in the liquid form, then that means in polyunsaturated and it may not be the pure olive oil.
Apart from that, here’s what you should do to ensure you are buying the genuine brand.
- Check for the source of the olive oil or where the manufacturing facility is located.
- Look for olive oil that is packed in a glass bottle and has a huge label.
- Look at label and check for certification.
Nutrition in olive oil
According to US Departments of Agriculture, one tablespoon of olive oil contains:
- Calories: 119
- Fat: 13.50 g (21% of the Daily Value, DV)
- Saturated fat: 2 g (9% of DV)
- Carbohydrates: 0
- Fibers: 0
- Protein: 0
- Vitamin E: 1.9 mg (10% of DV)
- Vitamin K: 8.1 µg (10% of DV)
Health benefits of olive oil
Now that you got the basic overview of olive oils, let’s take a good look on the benefits. Here are the 10 health benefits of olive oil and why it is better for consumption than normal vegetable oils.
Olive oil is good for heart health
The researchers at the Autonomous University of Madirid, Spain reported in British Medical Journal that people who consume olive oil on a regular basis do not have high risk of coronary diseases. They also inferred that “In a Mediterranean country where olive and sunflower oils are the most commonly used fats for frying, and where large amounts of fried foods are consumed both at and away from home, no association was observed between fried food consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease or death.”
Dr. Cécilia Samieri, from the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) said, “Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it.”
The team found that older people who regularly used olive oil for cooking and salad dressing or with bread, had a 41% lower risk of stroke, compared with their counterparts who never consumed it.
Check cholesterol levels
LDL or the low density lipoprotein is known as bad cholesterol. The olive oil is very helpful in balancing the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, thus keeping away diseases like thyroid and diabetes. Olive oil can regulate the level of both good and bad cholesterol. This has been proved by a Japanese paper published in Medical Science Monitor.
Olive oil helps in weight loss
In the Mediterranean Basin, the olive oil is one of the staple ingredients, besides wheat and grapes. But, they are not fat. Consuming 20 liters of extra virgin oil every year can help you lose weight. If you are tired of oil free diet and you are bored of it, try tossing your veggies in olive oil and let the magic happen. Low fat diet, prepared with olive oil is actually good and helps in weight loss.
Prevents Type II diabetes
A diet rich in monounsaturated fats like in olive oil, nuts and seeds, can help in preventing chronic disorders like diabetes and cancer. A study published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care showed that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduced the risk of type II diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet. Type II diabetes is the most common and preventable form of diabetes.
Olive oils can help fight depression
According to the Spanish researchers from the University of Navarra, regular consumption of olive oil can keep you away from mental illness, like stress and depression.
Researchers recently discovered that a higher intake of olive oil and polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish and vegetable oils was associated with a lower risk of depression.
Depression and stress can harm your mental well being; olive oil can take care of that too.
Olive oil relieves from constipation
When you consume the olive oil on a regular basis, then it makes the food move smoothly through colon, thus reducing the chances of constipation.
This also helps in bowels evacuation and curing constipation. It also reduces the chances of stone in gall bladder and kidney, and also ensures better digestion.
Olive oil is rich in vitamins E and K, iron, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and antioxidants. These nutrients improve your overall health, including the digestive tract, and help prevent constipation as well.
Soothes your pain
The olive oil has a compound called oleocanthal which makes it an anti-inflammatory agent that can cure any type of disease, be it topical or chronic. Be it virgin oil or extra virgin oil, this magical potion can relieve your any kind of pain.
Make your bones stronger
We all know that calcium can strengthen your bones, but did you know that olive oil is an expert in that too? Yes, olive oil can make your bones stronger. Olive oil increases the formation of osteocalcin in the blood, which is an indication of healthy bone formation.
Olive oil prevents Alzheimer’s
The oleocanthal present in extra virgin oil can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and also the risk of cognitive decline that one may suffer with ageing.
Helps prevents skin cancer
The olive oil is rich in antioxidants which can prevent skin cancer or malignant melanoma. Using sunscreen lotions and other such measures can shield you from the harmful UV rays of the sun, but the consumption of olive oil is essential too.
In Mediterranean, three out of every 1000,000 people may show some signs of skin cancer, even though it is a hot and humid region. The olive oil can form a protective shield against the fatal disease.
Does cooking destroy the benefits of olive oil?
There is a myth doing rounds about cooking with olive oil. And if you have ever heard that cooking or frying in olive oil actually destroys the health benefits of olive oil, then you don’t have to believe it.
Whether you use olive oil for dressing, cooking or frying, it’s equally beneficial and it does not lose its health benefits. In fact, you can easily heat the olive oil till 405°F, which is its burning point.
Over to you
Olive oil is rightly called the “liquid gold”, and you can see why. The olive oil can enhance the taste of the food, and at the same time, it’s good for your health. Everything that is tasty is not harmful for your liver, so here is the deal. Use it daily, soothe your tongue and comfort your liver.
Do you consume olive oil in cooking or for dressing? What are the health benefits that have you experienced?
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.