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Olive Oil and Its health benefits

Updated on January 31, 2014
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Olive Oil- A great addition in our life

This oil is obtained by cold pressing olives. Olive oil is one of the healthiest oil that can be used for many purposes. High in nutrition this oil is the darling of chefs. It is also used in cosmetics and medical uses.There are different types of olive oils available in the market.The least expensive are highly processed. The expensive ones contain the highest amount of nutrients. You may feel pinched when you see the prices but when you hear the benefits and uses of this oil you will be gladdened. So enjoy reading the benefits and then grab a bottle of this oil.

Types of Olive Oil

Olive oils based on the processing techniques which are are as follows

A)Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This is the best olive oil in terms of nutrition. Purest and having lowest acidity rate of 0.8%. It is expensive compared to other varieties of olive oil. Oil is derived by cold pressing technique. There is no usage of solvents to extract the oil from olives. It has the exact flavor of olives. The smoking point is low at 190 °C , so it can't be used for cooking at low, medium and high heating purposes like deep frying, grilling. Being highly flavored it is best to use in salad dressing, dipping and flavoring soups.

B)Virgin Olive Oil
The acidity rate is under 2%. Again the oil is extracted by pressing technique without addition of solvents. This comes pressing of olives and it is the lowest grade of extra virgin olive oil. Hence costs less than extra virgin olive oil. It has higher smoking point 215 °C. Slightly less mild flavored compared extra virgin olive oil. You can again use it for flavoring purposes as well a cooking at low heat purposes.

C)Refined Olive Oil
This has the highest smoking point 240 °C. The oil is obtained from virgin olive oil which have a high acidity levels by refining processes by using chemicals. Virgin olive oil that is not fit for human consumption is used for refining to make it edible. These organoleptic defects of oil are removed by refining and acidity level is reduced to 0.3%. Antioxidants, nutrients are lost in refining that are normally present in virgin or extra virgin olive oil. It has a tasteless flavor, so you cannot use it for flavoring purposes. The only good thing still remains is monounsaturated fats. So it can be used for cooking at all temperatures.

D) Olive Oil / Pure Olive Oil
This oil is a blend of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil. It has an acidity levels of less than 2%. This blended oil has mild flavor and some good nutrition qualities of virgin olive oil. You can use it for baking and cooking with a slight olive flavor. Grilling, roasting, frying and sauteing can be carried with this oil.

E) Extra Light Olive Oil / Light Olive Oil
The term extra light means this olive oil is light in flavor and color. This is a highly refined olive oil. It has neutral taste and pale color. Having a high smoking point makes it ideal for baking and cooking at all temperatures.

F) Pomace Olive Oil
Olive residuals are remain of olives after oil has been extracted in 1st and 2nd by cold pressing . Further oil is then extracted from these olive residuals through the usage of solvents and chemical processes. This extracted oil is refined by heating and chemical processes .Then this refined oil is blended with extra virgin oil to make it nutritious. This oil is called pomace olive oil. Normally 1% is the content of extra virgin oil is added in this oil. This is the most inferior quality of olive oil. Cheapest of all the varieties of edible olive oil. Pomace oil has a high smoking point making it fit for cooking at all temperatures.

G)Lampante oil
It is not an edible oil. This oil has been extracted from the lowest quality olives. Lampante oil is used for oil burning lamps and other industrial purposes. The lampante name comes from its use as lamp fuel. This oil these days is basically an ingredient to make refined olive oils.

Health Uses of Olive Oil

The health benefits arise when you eat extra virgin olive oil. These are as follows:

1)Protection against Heart Diseases
It prevent heart disease in following ways
-Lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels
Since olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats it lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels while increasing the good HDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is the main culprit for artery blockage. Artery blockage leads to heart attacks and many other diseases. The monounsaturated fat content in olive oil is 73%
- Lowers atherosclerosis risks
Atherosclerosis is the formation of plaque and blocking of arteries.It leads to heart attack, stroke and many other diseases.This plaque and blocking arises due to the oxidation of LDL Cholesterol. Having a diet consisting of antioxidants decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Olive oil is rich in antioxdants especially Vitamin E which lowers this atherosclerosis disease risks. One tablespoon of olive oil consists of 10% of Vitamin E required daily.
-Prevents blood vessel cell damage from oxygen molecules
Hydroxytyrosol is polyphenol present in olive oil strengthens the blood vessels. Thus preventing blood vessel cell damage from oxygen molecules.

2)Controls and lowers High Blood Pressure
High BP puts pressure on arteries thus causing many heart diseases, kidney failure etc . Olive oil has the ability to control and lower high blood pressure. Regular consumption of olive oil lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. Hence leading to reduced medication for controlling high BP.

3)Olive oil gives Anti-inflammatory benefits
Oleocanthal is anti-inflammatory agent found in olive oil. So when you consume olive oil , it will lower production of chemicals that cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation is responsible for many chronic diseases like heart attack, diabetes, cancer, arthritis etc. It damages your body organs leading to premature death and aging. A daily intake of 1-2 spoons of olive oils gives anti-inflammatory benefits to the body

4)Lowers Cancer Risks
Olive oils lower cancer risks of colon, breast, skin , ovarian and prostate. Oleic acid present in olive oil reduces oncogene genes ability to convert host body cell into cancer cells. Polyphenols in olive oil are responsible for preventing these cancers.

5)Controls and prevents diabetes
People suffering from diabetes should use olive oil. As consuming olive oil leads to lowering of heart disease associated with diabetic people. Olive oil leads to better regulation of blood sugar levels,increases the sensitivity of insulin and provides anti-inflammatory benefits to the blood vessels. Other benefits are that type 2 diabetes is prevented with regular consumption of olive oil .

6)Relief to Arthritis patients
Olive oil being anti-inflammatory in nature reduces the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. It oleocanthal in olive oil doing wonders on this front

7)Strengthens Bone
Problems like Osteoporosis are kept at bay as regular intake of olive oil leads to strong bones and improves calcium absorption.

8)Controls Asthma
Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits of olive oil provides relief to asthma patients.

9)Good Brain tonic
Olive oil consumption improves the cognitive abilities of brain. Alzheimer's disease, dementia and strokes are prevented. So as you grow old you will be protected from such diseases and your memory loss is prevented. Other benefits is it reduces depression risks

10)Leads healthy digestion system
Stomach ulcers are cured and prevented by regular intake of olive oil. Apart from this it improves the overall health of digestive system.

Roasted cauliflower recipe using olive oil and salt.

Disclaimer

This article is meant for information purpose only. The information provided here is not a substitute of professional medical advice. Please seek the advice of doctors or physician before using the information in this article for any health program.

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