- Olive oil is a type of edible oil obtained from the fruit of the olive tree, primarily Olea europaea.
- It is a widely used cooking oil and a key component of Mediterranean cuisine.
- Olive oil comes in various grades and types, including extra virgin, virgin, and refined olive oil.
- Rich in monounsaturated fats, which are associated with heart health and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Contains antioxidants, such as vitamin E and polyphenols, which may help protect cells from oxidative damage.
- May have anti-inflammatory properties.
- May help improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of stroke.
- Associated with a Mediterranean-style diet, which is linked to various health benefits.
- Cooking, sautéing, and frying due to its high smoke point and flavor.
- Salad dressings and marinades.
- As a condiment for dipping bread.
- As a finishing drizzle over dishes like pasta, grilled vegetables, and seafood.
Types and Grades:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is the highest quality and most flavorful olive oil. It is made from pure, cold-pressed olives and has the lowest acidity level (below 0.8%). It retains the natural taste, aroma, and nutritional properties of olives.
- Virgin Olive Oil: Like extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil is also cold-pressed and derived from pure olives. It has a slightly higher acidity level (up to 2%) compared to extra virgin. It has a good flavor but is less robust than extra virgin.
- Pure Olive Oil (or just “Olive Oil”): This type of olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined olive oil. It has a milder flavor and is suitable for cooking and frying due to its higher smoke point.
- Extra Light Olive Oil: This is the most refined type of olive oil and has the mildest flavor. It is often used for high-heat cooking and frying but has fewer of the health benefits associated with less processed olive oils.
- Cardiovascular Health:
- Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid, which has been associated with a reduced risk of heart diseases.
- It may help lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) levels and improve HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) levels.
- Natural Antioxidant:
- Olive oil contains antioxidants such as vitamin E and polyphenols, which can help combat oxidative stress and reduce damage caused by free radicals in the body.
- Compounds in extra virgin olive oil have been observed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for overall health and specific inflammatory conditions.
- Brain Health:
- Some research suggests that regular consumption of olive oil may be associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Nutritional Properties (per 100 grams)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Calories: 884 kcal
- Fat: 100 g
- Saturated Fat: 14 g
- Monounsaturated Fat (Oleic Acid): 73 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 8 g
- Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol): 14 mg (70% of the Recommended Daily Intake)
- Vitamin K: 62 µg (78% of the Recommended Daily Intake)