Amazing Benefits Of Olive Oil For Health
Olive Oil is fast becoming the world’s favourite oil. This wonderful secret of many Mediterranean recipes is now out in the open for the entire globe to enjoy. Olive oil is the fat which is obtained from crushing olives, a fruit that is primarily grown and cultivated in the Mediterranean region. Health and culinary circuits cant stop raving about the benefits of this wonder oil. Feel like having a light and healthy meal or just sprucing up your salad with some flavour? Olive oil with its distinct pungent flavour can add charm to so many of your boring dishes. The Indian taste bud is also slowly embracing the western wonder, not just for its distinct flavour but also for the numerous health benefits that it holds. It packs a healthy punch not only when consumed, olive oil also packs a bevy of skin, hair and beauty benefits too. Here’s a roundup of all that you ever wanted to know about Olive Oil.
While the world can’t stop going gaga over the goodness of olive oil it is important to understand that there are many grades of olive oil. And each grade comes with its own share of pros and cons different from the other variants. The highest grade of olive oil is the extra virgin olive oil, followed by virgin oil, and finally refined oil. These grades are defined by their ways of extraction.
Extra virgin and the standard virgin olive oil, is extracted directly from the olive fruit by grinding the olives, which preserves the natural taste, flavour, pungency and maximum amount of benefits. This method of extracting the oil directly from the fruit is called ‘cold-pressing’. This helps the oil retain its flavour which may lose when the oil is exposed to high temperatures. The oil that is further processed and undergoes blending of chemical solvents, loses the original high-grade quality of the extra virgin oil, and are clubbed in the refined variants of olive oil.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is obtained by crushing or cold-pressing olives and extracting the fresh juice. It is unrefined and the highest-quality olive oil you can buy. Because of the way extra-virgin olive oil is made, it retains the true flavour of olives and has a lower level of oleic acid than the other varieties. It has a higher concentration of natural vitamins and minerals found in olives. According to Consultant Nutritionist, Dr Rupali Dutta, “Extra Virgin Oil has been subjected to zero processing and has no additives which make it bright green in colour and has a strong olive flavour. It also contains only 1% of Oleic Acid and is able to retain all its antioxidants. Regular olive oil, on the other hand, is commercially produced and processed just like any other oil. It contains at least 3-4% of Oleic Acid.”
- Standard Virgin oil: Virgin olive oil comes from standard virgin oil production, or cold pressing only, it has an acidity less than 2% and is known to have a ‘good’ taste, as compared to the Extra Virgin Variety. It cannot contain any refined oil. Virgin olive oil is good for cooking
- Pure or blended olive oil: It may be called ‘pure’, but they are mostly a blend of refined olive oil and virgin production oil.
- Refined Oil: When virgin oils are sent to the processing plant, they undergo chemical processing, which makes them the “refined olive oils.” Here they undergo processing that includes heat, chemicals, or filtration. These refined olive have an acidity level of 0.3% or less, which also tends to give them a longer shelf life
- Pomace oil: There is another variant of olive oil available in the market called the olive pomace oil. Once the typical, mechanized extraction of olive oil from the olive fruit is done with, about 5 to 8 of the oil still remains in the leftover olive pulp or the “pomace.” This oil is called the pomace oil and is used deemed good for cooking.
Although the pomace oil that is extracted is still technically oil that comes from olives, it is still not slotted with the virgin oil variety in terms of goodness, as many times the extraction from the pomace may use chemical solvents.
Olive Oil Health Benefits
Olive Oil is packed with several health benefits, Bangalore based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood says ” It is good for your heart, hair, skin and veins, if you massage it on blood clots, the clots would heal soon.”Macrobiotic nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora ND says, “Olive oil is loaded with heart-protective polephenols that lower cholesterol. It is also packed with anti-inflammatory properties. The mono-saturated fatty acids boosts metabolism and aids weight loss.”Dr. Simran Saini of Fortis Hospital also recommends the oil for its heart healthy properties, “Olive oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids- which improves good cholesterol(HDL). It is also good for digestion, and keeps your hormones balanced.”
Here is what makes Olive oil a healthier bet than other refined oil found in the market.
1. Source of Monosaturated fatty acids: Looking to shed some extra pounds? Switch to a diet that has the east intake of trans fats. Olive oil is profuse with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), a healthy fat that helps battle heart disease, cholesterol, and even blood sugar. Experts suggest that it is higher in MUFAs than sesame, coconut, rapeseed, sunflower and corn oil!
2. Source of Good Cholesterol : Olive oil promotes the flow of High-density lipoproteins or HDL which is called the good cholesterol, which scavenges the blood stream of plaque and toxin formation.
Olive OiI is has been linked to raising good cholesterol
3. Good for hearth Health: Diets with high in MUFAs are linked to a healthy heart and fewer strokes. Olive oil’s ability to limit LDL or bad cholesterol further bolsters the heart Health. And prevents strokes.
4. Good For Digestion: Olive oil can also work wonders for your gastrointestinal tract and colon. Olive oil helps stimulates the digestive system, making food move smoothly through the colon. Rich in mono-saturated fats, olive oil helps in better mobility of food through the colon. This also helps speeding up bowel movement thereby constipation. Mixing a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice can be an effective remedy for constipation.
5. May Treat Depression: Experts have said that Olive oil can increase the levels of serotonin, the brain chemical that is also called the happiness hormone. Majority of the anti-depressants also steer towards stimulating the production of serotonin.
6. Promotes brain health: The good amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids present in extra virgin olive oil are good for brain and memory power.
7. Pain reliever: Oleocanthal, a compound present in the olive oil, lends olive oil immense anti-inflammatory properties, thereby making olive oil an excellent pain reliever be it externally or internally.
Apart from the multiple skin benefits, olive oil can do wonders for your skin, beauty and hair too. Olive oil is packed with Vitamin E and K which can come to the aid of several of your hair and skin woes. Here’s a roundup of Olive Oil Benefits for skin, hair and beauty and how to use the wonder oil to your best advantage.