Thursday, May 20, 2010

My health - and olive oil

Olive Oil: A Cultural History from Around the World (Astonishing Facts About . . . Series)I’ve heard of olive oil long, long time ago. I do cooking, and I’ve always heard it said that using olive oil will prevent a lot of those diseases caused by using “inferior oils”, as well as curing what has already set in.

While that may be true, the price (back then) was quite outrageous, so my use of olive oil didn’t happen back then.

I now have an encounter with olive oil, and one truth remains: it still is an expensive product. So if that will not be changing for the next couple of years, I will just simply go on to enumerating its benefits – something that money can’t buy (or remedy) later on.

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Just what is olive oil?

Olive oil is a monosaturated fat and it is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed directly pressed from the olive fruit. It has high contents of antioxidant substances and is indicated against heart diseases because it raises the levels of "good cholesterol" (HDL). [1]

Olivella All Natural Virgin Olive Oil Moisturizer From Italy (50ml) 1.69 Fluid OuncesOlive oil is the pure juice pressed from the fruit of the olive tree. It has been cultivated for over 5000 years around the Mediterranean and has been used variously as a fuel, food, medicine and cosmetic.

Greece is one of the top 3 producers of olive oil in the world -- and Cretan olive oil is the finest of them all.

Recently, olive oil (and particularly Extra Virgin Olive Oil) has been recognised as one of the healthiest foods you can get, promoting long life and improving resistance to many of the life threatening diseases that are the curse of the western World. [2]


If it is oil, then isn’t it fat?

To answer that question, let’s see where oil, or fat, is derived, for that matter.

Our primary basis is the form it is in, at normal room temperature.

Barlean's Organic Oils Olive Leaf Complex, 16-Ounce BottleOil is usually liquid. Fat is usually solid.

Oil is categorized under vegetable fats, which also include oil from the following: peanut, flax seed, corn, soya bean, sunflower, sesame, and coconut.

There is also animal fats, like butter, cream, lard, fish oil and ghee. These animal fats are derived from fats in the milk, meat and under the skin of the animal. [7][8]

Whereas, for olive oil, it is quite similar to how we come up with fresh fruit juices: no, it is not squeezed; rather, olive fruit is pressed, and the oil comes out. So you now have the term “cold pressed”, and you’ll see or hear that every now and then.

Olive oil is the only oil made from a fruit. It's not only good for your heart, but also great to apply on your body. [3]

Now back to olive oil…


Are there different types of olive oil?

Elea Organic Extra Virgin Estate Grown Filtered Greek Olive Oil 750mlYes, there are. When something is good, it almost always will be broadcasted, and replicated – if it can be. Quite naturally for the olive tree, for our case. Usually, the olive tree is grown alongside the grape vine. But I’m not suggesting that maybe someday, there will be an olive oil-wine thing. Nah!

Rather than call it type, we should use the proper term: GRADE. The different grades of olive oil are as follows:
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil is pressed from the olive without help from heat treatments or other processing, and produces the purest and best oil. This is the most expensive and you should use this for dressings, especially.
  • Virgin Olive Oil comes from the second pressing and is still a quality tasty oil. Use this for infusing herbs (and salad dressings too).
  • Pure Olive Oil is produced using some filtering or processing. This oil is less expensive and can be used for frying. You should do all your frying in this type of oil. It is so robust, you can use it many times without any reduction in its flavour or quality. [4]


What are the differences in these grades?

Organic Bariani Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil 500 ml bottleIt is the acid content and the flavor of the oil which makes it different from the rest. It is due to the extraction process. Once again, the list is in the descending order of quality. You’ll see why.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - This type provides the highest quality among the three for the following reasons:
  • Made from absolute mechanical means (i.e. no chemical processing takes place)
  • Comes from the first "cold press," meaning, oil from second and subsequent pressings are not included
  • Acidity level holds for less than 0.8% (some premium quality can go as low as 0.225%)
  • Burst with highest amount of polyphenolic antioxidants that help you fight against free radicals in your body and prevent illnesses effectively
  • Packs a strong flavor and aroma - taste fruity and buttery

Virgin Olive Oil - Same as extra virgin grade, same "cold processing" method, but of lower quality due to:
  • A higher acidity level of up to 2%
  • Great taste but slightly inferior to that of extra-virgin grade.

Integrated strategic approach for reusing olive oil extraction by-products [An article from: Journal of Cleaner Production]Pure Olive Oil - The lowest quality among these three because:
  • It is a mixture of refined, virgin and extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lacks strong flavor due to its much higher content of the flavorless and odorless refined oil (85%) than virgin oil (15%)
  • Though its acidity carries only less than 1.5% (may seem better than some virgin grade), its overall nutritional values have fallen drastically in the chemical-bound refining process.
  • The only good thing about this pure oil grade is its longer shelf life. [5]


Is one grade better than the other?

Definitely! If you are talking about health benefits, then I say that one grade is better than the other. As listed above, EVOO is the best of the three, with VOO next, and finally, POO.

Do note, however, that only POO is “qualified” to be used for cooking. The introduction of heat makes EVOO and VOO lose all their “advantage” over POO, so why would you buy the pricier grade only to lose its health benefits by frying?


Olivella Hair The Olive Shampoo, 8.45-Fluid Ounces Bottles (Pack of 2)Will I be healthy using olive oil?

Absolutely!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, being the best, is “best” used in its raw form. It is mostly used as an “active” ingredient in salad dressings, and in many cases, it is taken as is on a regular basis: a spoonful or two every morning. What does that do, actually?

A daily intake of a spoonful or two is known to have beneficial effects, as follows:
  • dietary treatment of diabetes
  • it helps control blood pressure and increases the bone mass
  • a favorable effect on the development of the central nervous and vascular systems, in brain development as well as normal child development
  • facilitates the cleansing of the gall bladder (chlorophyll)
  • helps the digestion of other fatty substances because it helps the secretions of the peptic system and stimulates the pancreatic enzyme lipase
  • contains a high percentage of phenols and vitamin E and as a result helps delay the aging process; prevent the oxidization of fatty tissue
  • limits the oxidizing of bad cholesterol (cause of artillery skilorsus and heart disease) [6]


Olio Santo California Extra Virgin Olive Oil - First Cold Press 500ml 16.9 ozWhere can I use olive oil?

Food. Salad dressings. Cooking. Frying. A daily intake of a spoonful or two. It is no longer just a culinary ingredient. There are actually other uses, for example:
  • hair loss prevention
  • hair regrow formula (with cinnamon)
  • skin repair
  • shaving oil (to replace shaving cream)
  • skin moisturizer
  • eye makeup remover
  • stainless steel appliance cleaner (and shiner)
  • wood furniture cleaner
  • head lice removal (excuse me now)
  • cuticle and nail cure
  • skin care (run or mix in bath)
  • soothing dry, cracked lips
  • dissolving kidney stones (mixed with lemon juice and water)
  • lubricant

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 100 SoftgelsAs for the last one, I’m actually wondering, “why buy an expensive oil to use as a lubricant?” OK, it’s up to you on this last one. Doesn’t always mean you can, and you will, right?


When can I not use olive oil?

When something is for one thing, it usually isn’t for another. OK. I’m just trying to say that while olive oil has many benefits and uses, it is not for everything.

If I’m cooking, especially frying, which olive oil can I use? Not use? Why?

To recap, the main difference between virgin olive oil and pure olive oil is the extraction process. Virgin olive oil is produced by mechanical pressing. Pure olive oil is derived using chemical-bound process – a process by which the acidity level may be lowered (making it better), but most of the nutritional values are lost.

Heritage Products Shampoo, Hypoallergenic, Olive Oil, 8-Ounces (Pack of 3)You may want to read again the following sections (above):
  • Are there different types of olive oil?
  • What are the differences in these grades?
  • Is one grade better than the other?

And of course, there are many other things that you may try to do with olive oil. Believe me, just be cautious when you do experiments, alright?


Precaution

Don't keep olive oil in the fridge.It will solidify. Keep it in a cool, dry place.

And, since olive oil is so great, many cons will try to cash in on this great opportunity. So be very wary when you are buying olive oil. Read the labels, check the company, ring up the numbers, search the web – what else can I say. Unless you are buying the oil from reputable and trusted persons, other than picking up that bottle or gallon from the grocery or supermarket, then do your homework first before having those crates delivered. I know, Garfield says it better, “When it feels good, overdo it.”

Olivella Body Cream From Virgin Olive Oil 5.07 fl oz (150 ml)Don’t we overdo it time and again?

So let us be cautious this time.

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Sources:
  1. A Brief Introduction to Olive Oil
  2. Olive Oil - Why This is the World's Oldest Miracle Food
  3. Olive Oil Beauty Tips
  4. Olive Oil - Why This is the World's Oldest Miracle Food
  5. Health Benefits of Olive Oil - Which Olive Oil Benefits Your Health the Most?
  6. Properties and Benefits of Olive Oil
  7. What is Fat? How Much Fat Should I Eat?
  8. Fat


Olive Oil (Extra Virgin) - 16 OuncesAll Other Sources:
  1. Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. The Miracle That is Olive Oil - Five Health Benefits of Using Olive Oil
  3. Food for the Heart - The Hype Surrounding Olive Oil
  4. Olive Oil - The Multiple Uses of This Amazing Oil
  5. How to Prevent Hair Thinning With Olive Oil
  6. Using a Head Lice Olive Oil Treatment - How to Clear Yourself of Lice in Just 2 Hours
  7. Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
  8. Olive Oil & Cinnamon Powder - Two of Many Cheap Hair Loss Remedies That Work
  9. 10 Facts about Olive Oil
  10. Olive Oil - Remarkable Cooking Agent For Hair Loss?
  11. Discover the Benefits of Olive Oil
  12. Olive Oil in Diet Better Than Whole Grain Bread
  13. Olive Oil Help for Kidney Stones
  14. Use Olive Oil to Naturally Treat Wrinkled Skin
  15. Unique Uses of Olive Oil
  16. Olive Oil and Kidney Stones
  17. How Olive Oil Can Help Prevent Prostate, Skin and Other Types of Cancers!