Understanding the importance of Olive Oil

Posted by Matthew on Wed, Jun 24, 2009  
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Olive oil is mostly found to be common in the Mediterranean countries including Portugal. Olive oil contains healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and it contains about 75% of oleic acid which remains stable even at high temperatures. Olive oil does not have any adverse affect on blood cholesterol levels. In fact, it helps in lowering down any high blood cholesterol level that may be present in a person’s body. Olive oil is good for people who suffer from constipation. It helps in lubricating the intestine and thereby allowing removing of the body waste and thus cures constipation issue. Olive oil has natural antioxidants properties which help in reducing the risk of heart attack and fight high blood pressure.


The flavor of olive oil differs due to various factors such as the variety of olive, the soil conditions, weather etc. Portugal is also one of the country which produces good primary source of olive oil. Some olive oils may contain single variety of oils. However, Italian oils are made up of a mixture of oils from different types of olives which are produced from various countries. There are basically four types of olive oil :


1) “Virgin” Olive Oil :
Virgin Olive Oil is in its pure form as it is made when ripe olives are pressed for the first time and the acid content is nearly 3.5% to 4%

2) “Extra Virgin” Olive Oil:
This type of oil is also extracted from the first time pressing of ripe olives. However, “Extra Virgin” olive oil is low in acid. The acid content of extra virgin olive oil is below 1%. It contains more antioxidants agents and is mainly used for salad dressings.

3) “Fine” Olive Oil:
It is a blend of “Virgin” and “Extra Virgin” Olive Oils and the acid content is about 3%

4) “Refined” Olive Oil:
It is the most refined form of olive oil. It can be considered as pure olive oil. It can be considered as pure olive oil. It has a rich texture and it can be easily digestible. Refine olive oil is suitable for deep frying and it is many times more heat resistant, compared to vegetable oil. Thus, one can reuse the same refined olive oil to fry foods a number of times, before the oil actually begins to break down.


Portugal has a mild climate which acts as a boon to the tourist industry for the entire year. Its country’s climate helps in producing good vegetation and fruit cultivation. Bacalhau is the famous Portuguese dish which is made out of salted coldfish. This dish is eaten with cabbage, grain, potatoes and above all the famous olive oil. Soups also form a part of the local diet. Also, dinners may include bread and olives. Many people are now aware of Olive pulp which has rapidly become popular as super foods. It can boost the immune system of the body and can thus prevent chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease which are known to shortened lives. Olive oil contains antioxidant polyphenols. Portugal people mostly consume it daily along with a glass of wine and breads. One can feel and look healthier with this type of diet.


Olive oil should be kept away from heat, in order to prevent aging of the oil. It should be stored in plastic or glass containers, away from light and the place should be dark and cool. Olive oil is found to be much healthier compared to vegetable oils while frying a food item in olive oil, the leftover oil can be reused once or twice. Olive oil should be used in less quantity because when heated, it starts to expand in volume. It hardly gets absorbed by the food. However, I should warn you that if you are using olive oil for the first tie, then do not directly use it as a cooking medium. First get familiar to the taste of olive oil and then start using it gracefully in your cooking.





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