Olive oil is a healthy and much recommended oil but since it is not really a supplement you might wonder why it is here.
My only reason is that it is a fabulous, healthy food and I love it!
Olive oil is a central part of the Mediterranean Diet and has to be understood from that perspective.
The Mediterranean diet has a lot of vegetables, salads, and a little bread, a little fish and very little meat.
Olive oil functions in that diet as an oil to be sprinkled on vegetables and salads and is also used to dip bread in.
It can also be used to sauté and shallow fry.
When comparing it with other oils it stands out as being different. Butter and Coconut oil are saturated oils and sunflower and sesame are unsaturated, well Olive oil is neither of these and is called mono unsaturated.
What this means is that it is not as heat stable as butter or Coconut oil but is more stable – safer- than all the common oils such as sunflower, corn and soybean.
All food deteriorates with time. And that applies to Olive oil too which is rightly called a "Superfood."
This is due both to the enzymes in the food and the effect of oxygen. Heating the food gently may not damage the enzymes or accelerate the oxidation but strong heating will destroy the enzymes and speed up oxidative damage to the oil.
This is why a monounsaturated oil is better than a polyunsaturated oil – so Olive oil can simply replace other oils you use to shallow fry.
Olive oil is itself a mix of omega 6 and omega 3 oils
This table shows that half to three quarters of Olive oil is Oleic acid which is monounsaturated with up to 21% being the omega 6 linoleic acid.
So although this is a relatively heat stable oil, care must be taken when cooking so that the oil does not get strong heating.
Take care of your Olive oil and it will take care of you!
Olive Oil is anti-inflammatory and helps regulate HDL and LDL cholesterol and is rightly claimed to be heart healthy
It has a high content of phenols and polyphenols and has a protective effect against "cancers of the breast, endometrium, prostate and digestive tract."
Apart from these powerful health benefits olive oil is widely used as a moisturiser and hair oil.
This is not just a supplement to your life but something that can help at almost every step.
By the way – there are many different grades of Olive oil and Extra Virgin is the top grade and the one which the research focusses on.