Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils in the world, but it’s not just for healthy people. If you need a little extra something in your life, then how about adding a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil? Extra virgin olive oil has more polyphenols than any other type of olive oil, which are antioxidants that boost brain power and can help with weight loss. Plus, they’re delicious and they make it much easier to do dishes without using as much liquid as you might be used to. So eat up!
Europe – The Land of Olive Oils
Italy is known as the land of olive oil, and it’s no wonder why! The country produces a whopping 1.7 million gallons per year, making Italy the world’s top producer by far. In fact, three-quarters of all olives planted in the world are found in Italy! It’s been grown in Europe since ancient times, and it is actually one of the first foods that was ever exported. Olive oil was used as a currency in harbors all across the Mediterranean over 2,800 years ago! Nowadays, there are over 1,000 cultivars found around the world.
What Are Extra Virgin Olive Oils?
Extra virgin olive oils are classified based on their flavor and acidity. They range from mild to strong in flavor and have low to high acid contents. For example, extra virgin olive oils with high acidity and low flavor can be used for cooking, while milder olive oils are perfect for salad dressings.
When is it Best to Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra virgin olive oil has a higher smoke point than regular table oils; this makes it ideal for use in high-heat cooking like frying. It also contains more antioxidants than other types of olive oil, which are what help your body lose weight and protect against disease. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the richest sources of polyphenols, and it’s extra-virgin because the olives are harvested as soon as they’re ripe.
What Types of Olive Oils Are Available?
In Italy, there are over 700 different olive oils! Local and small producers have been making excellent oils for centuries. The best olive oil available in the United States is California Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This oil is cold pressed, which means the olives are hand-picked, crushed and blended without any heat or chemicals. Since it only comes from virgin olives, it has a high phenol content and a mild flavor that is perfect for salads or drizzling on pasta.
How Does Extra Virgin Olive Oil Work?
Extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants, which are compounds found in foods that stop the effects of harmful free radicals. They help protect healthy cells within the body from damage and aging. In addition to helping with weight loss, regular consumption of olive oil (3-4 tablespoons per day) has been linked to lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure. Extra virgin olive oil is also an excellent source of polyphenols, which can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels (also known as bad cholesterol).
Nutrients in Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra virgin olive oil contains nutrients like Vitamin E, Vitamin A, protein and dietary fiber. It is also high in monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial because they help reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. According to research published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, it contains an antioxidant called oleocanthal that helps fight cancerous tumors and stop their growth.
How to Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra virgin olive oil can be taken in the morning or before bed. Add it to your favorite type of smoothie or juice for a boost in energy. Pour a tablespoon into your next bowl of soup or sprinkle it over some chicken before you bake it! You can even mix your favorite herbs and spices into extra virgin olive oil for a flavorful dip that you can drizzle over baked potatoes, zucchini, chicken or fresh vegetables.
Olive Oil Purchasing Tips
It is important to buy extra virgin olive oil in a dark glass bottle to preserve its freshness. It is best to buy organically grown olive groves, but it is possible for them to grow in not-so-healthy ways as well. Another important tip is that it is best to purchase olive oil blends or “omaggiatura” oils made from your preferred cultivar. The quality of extra virgin olive oil can vary greatly depending on the type of olives used in the blend as well as how long it was aged (the longer the aging process, the better).
Where Can Extra Virgin Olive Oil Be Purchased?
Fresh, organic extra virgin olive oil can be purchased at supermarkets and health food stores. You can also check the gourmet section of your local grocery store. It is important to look for California Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is certified USDA Organic.
Storing Your Olive Oil
It is best to keep your olive oil in a cold , dark cabinet to maximize its shelf life. Add a twist-on cap and keep it in the fridge once you get home. Olive oil can be stored for up to 2 years before it begins to be void of key nutrients.