From the orchards of Ancient Greece to several thousand households around the world in modern society, olive oil has made quite a journey. And yet, despite being one of the oldest produced consumer goods of the world, it still manages to surprise with its plethora of hidden facts, features and fruitfulness. Here are 10 interesting realities of olive oil that are inherent to its very existence.
Not all olive oils are created equal
More often than not, a bottled tagged as ‘virgin olive oil’ does not actually qualify for the status. That is why it is important to understand the differences between the different types of olive oils and to learn how to read the label and discern the quality of the oil from the components and sources mentioned.
Extra virgin olive oil has the most health benefits
EVOO is the best example of unadulterated organic olive oil, as it is made from the first cold pressing of the olives, and has no application of mechanical heat or chemicals for extraction. It packs a punch with flavors for dressing and sauté and has the best health benefits than all other kinds. But it is not ideal for heavy cooking.
Pure olive oil is perfect for cooking
With a more neutral flavor and higher smoke point thanks to further processing, Pure olive oil is better for heavy cooking, frying and baking than EVOO.
It is rich in polyphenols
All types of olive oils come packed with an antioxidant called polyphenols in varied percentages. They help fight cell degeneration, therefore preventing early aging and risks of dementia and cancer. It also contributes to regulate heart problems and blood sugar levels.
Olive oil has less saturated and more unsaturated fat than other oils
EVOO has around 14–15% saturated fat, which is far lesser than butter, coconut oil, peanut oil or even any vegetable oil. It also has high content of MUFAs and PUFAs that helps in lowering cholesterol levels, which makes EVOO and Refined olive oilbetter options than others for everyday use.
Olive oil is exceptional for inflammation
EVOO is especially rich in a particular MUFA called oleic acid, which helps alleviate inflammations as good as medicines like ibuprofen.
It’s okay if the oil tastes pungent
Many places have the option to taste the oil before purchasing. If the EVOO tastes slightly pungent and bitter, and leaves a burning, peppery feel down your throat upon tasting, that is not a sign of rancidity but of antioxidant-rich, good quality. However, if it feels greasy and smells like motor oil, better skip that particular brand.
Pomace olive oil is great for hair and skin
A particular type of residual product called pomace olive oil, which comprises of olive flesh and skin and leftover oil after extra virgin and virgin oils are separated, is a great messaging oil for body and scalp, especially if they are dry. Using it as a regular conditioner for hair and skin will help treat dryness and rejuvenate thoroughly.
The color is not a sign of quality
Don’t confuse richer colors in olive oils to be an indicator of high standard. The shade depends on the chlorophyll content of the olives, how ripe they were when plucked and the geographical location of the orchard. But due to processing, pure and refined oils often have a much lighter shade than EVOO.
They last long enough when not exposed to light and sun
There is a reason why good brands sell olive oil in thick glass bottles and invest a lot into protective packaging. Exposure to light and air is fatal to the longevity of olive oil and can make it go bad in six months. But when kept in airtight, cool and dry conditions, it can last up to two years.
All in all, every type of olive oil has something quite beneficial to contribute, if only you know how to choose. For that purpose, knowing the facts and understanding them is of utmost importance.