Olive Oil: Types, Benefits, Nutrition, and Uses
The culinary staple for thousands of years, olive oil is one of the most celebrated and healthiest cooking oils on the planet. Previously made by crushing olives using stones, today, a mechanical process is used to clean the olives and crush or press them in a mill to separate the water and solid. It then travels hundreds of miles in totes and drums only to confuse people with prefixes like virgin, extra virgin, pure, and refined.
To help you navigate the world of olive oil, in this article, we will be discussing the three types of olive oil, the benefits of olive oil, the uses of olive oil, and its nutritional value. Keep reading to find the one that best suits your needs.
Types of Olive Oil
The color and flavor of olive oil depend on the region, type, and age of the olives. Using the right type of olive oil can significantly affect the cooking process and the texture and taste of your dish. Listed below are the three types of olive oil:
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Considered the best type of olive oil, extra virgin olive oil is made using mechanical methods only. The olives are first pressed, then the pulp is separated via centrifugation, and finally, the oil is filtered to remove any form of solid or debris. Extra virgin olive oil is never exposed to high heat or chemicals, making it the purest form of olive fruit oil on the market.
Because it is cold-extracted and unrefined, extra virgin olive oil has high levels of bioactive compounds such as oleocanthal, hydroxytyrosol, and oleuropein. You can find extra virgin olive oil in different hues of green and gold, and the aroma can vary from grassy to fruity. It has a high smoke point of 350 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it can be used for light frying, baking, roasting, salad dressing, and sautéing.
2. Regular or Pure Olive Oil
Usually labeled olive oil, you can easily find regular or pure olive oil in superstores or online. Pure olive oil is a combination of 15% to 25% of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil. It is treated with chemicals and heat, which indicates some flavor defects.
Compared to virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, pure olive oil has lesser health-boosting bioactive compounds. It is in light gold and has a neutral aroma and flavor. Pure or regular olive oil is a good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin E, and oleic acid. Pure olive oil has a higher smoke point (approximately 470 degrees Fahrenheit), making it a great choice for high- and low-heat cooking methods like frying, grilling, searing, baking, roasting, and sautéing. You can also apply pure olive oil on your scalp or skin for extra moisture.
3. Virgin Olive Oil
Often confused with extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil is very rare and nearly impossible to find. Thus, you cannot expect the local grocery store to have a bottle of virgin olive oil. Even though it is extracted in the same way as extra virgin olive oil, this unrefined form of olive oil has minor flavor defects. Virgin olive oil has a neutral aroma and higher acidity content between 1% and 4%.
Similar to other types of olive oil, virgin olive oil contains phytosterols, oleic acid, and vitamins. Ideally, virgin olive oil should be used for low-heating cooking, including baking, frying eggs, roasting, sautéing, and marinating.
Olive Oil | Nutritional Facts
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one tablespoon (single serving) of olive oil includes:
|Vitamin K||1.9 milligrams|
|Vitamin E||8.1 microgram|
With 119 calories, olive oil is considered calorically dense. However, reducing the intake from one tablespoon to 1 teaspoon can roughly decrease the calorie count by two-thirds which is 40 calories for every teaspoon of olive oil.
A single serving of olive oil comprises 1.86g of saturated fat, 1.42g of polyunsaturated fat, and 9.86g of monounsaturated fat. Even though olive oil is rich in good fats, it is important to take control of your intake as the heart-healthy oil is calorie-dense.
There are zero carbohydrates in olive oil, making it the perfect cooking oil choice for people on low or no-carb diets.
Olive oil is devoid of protein content.
Minerals and Vitamins
Rich in minerals and vitamins, 1 tablespoon of olive oil contains 1.9 mg of vitamin E, which is responsible for keeping your cells healthy, boosting your immune system, preventing blood clotting with the vessels, and protecting your body from free radicals.
The same serving size of olive oil also has approximately 8.1mcg of vitamin K. This means that consuming olive oil daily boosts the building of bones, blood clotting, and heart health. In addition to this, olive oil includes 0.1mg of potassium, which plays an important role in muscle contraction and improves the functioning of the heart and kidneys.
Benefits of Cooking with Olive Oil
From being a kitchen staple to ruling over the cosmetic world, olive oil has come a long way. Keep reading to learn some interesting research-backed benefits of olive oil.
● Improves Heart Health
Polyphenols play a vital role in preventing the platelets in the blood streams from clumping together, which is the main cause of cardiovascular diseases, especially heart attacks. Olive oil has high amounts of polyphenols and Vitamin K, which prevents blood clotting and improves blood flow. Furthermore, olive oil has 73% of monounsaturated fats, lowering blood pressure. Research showed that eating 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil significantly lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease in people.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, consuming 20 grams (1.5 tablespoons) of olive oil can protect you from coronary heart disease.
● Boosts Immunity
Whether you are trying to reduce the risk of cancer, manage an autoimmune disease, or avoid the flu, olive oil can help strengthen your immune system. In 2015 a clinical trial was conducted, which proved that eating three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil daily can increase the production of T-cells. This also helps in managing inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
● Reduces Inflammation
Olive oil contains a myriad of compounds like hydroxytyrosol acetate and polyphenols hydroxytyrosol that help in regulating inflammation. The Nutrients published a study in which regular olive oil consumption ranging from 1mg to 50mg can significantly decrease inflammatory marketer.
● Protects Brain Function
As we age, our brain function starts to slow down, making it difficult to recall things. Eating one tablespoon of olive oil can prevent cognitive decline and lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
● Strengthens Bones
A 2018 research showed increases in bone density in women who consumed high quantities of olive oil. In simpler words, inflammation in the human body can activate the bone-breaking osteoclast cells. Therefore, the polyphenols in olive oil stimulate bone formation and prevent the deterioration of bones.
Uses of Olive Oil
Olive oil is known for its versatility. Some common uses of the Olea Europaea oil are given below:
- Olive oil can be used for baking, cooking, grilling, roasting, frying, and sautéing.
- You can use olive oil to give marinades and salad dressings a rich flavor and smooth texture.
- Olive oil can be used as a base for making flavorful spreads and dips like aioli, tapenade, and hummus.
- Drizzling olive oil over pizzas, stews, and soups can give the dish a unique taste.
- Swish a tablespoon of olive oil in your mouth for a minute to promote oral hygiene.
- Olive oil can be used to preserve foods like herbs, vegetables, and cheese.
- Dip a cotton ball into olive oil to remove eye makeup.
- Apply olive oil on your nails, skin, or hair for added moisture.
- Rub a few drops of olive oil on the stainless steel sink, flatware, pans, and pots to remove the rust and add shine.
- Olive oil can also help in soothing stretch marks.
Tips for Finding and Storing the Best Quality Olive Oil
If you think that purchasing olive oil means going to the supermarket and grabbing the first bottle you see on the shelf, the process is more complicated than this. Regrettably, the unfortunate truth is that olive oil fraud is a real thing. The Olive Oil Commission of California published a study in which 50 olive oil samples were collected from Amazon and various superstores in California, of which 13 failed to meet the set standard. Follow the below-mentioned tips to find the purest form of olive oil and store it in the right way:
1. Always Read the Label
When purchasing a bottle of olive oil, read the ingredient statement, expiry date, and manufacturer name, and look for the authenticity seals (NAOOOA or USDA Organic quality seal). Avoid buying dusty bottles or ones with an orange tint. Also, purchase olive oil from a reliable, trusted retailer like Maverik Oils.
2. Don’t Buy a Glass Bottle with Golden Colored Liquid Inside No Matter How Tempted You Are
As stated earlier, light is the biggest enemy of olive oil. Therefore, regardless of how beautiful and exquisite glass bottles look, never buy clear-bottled olive oil, as there’s a high chance that it has already lost its aroma and flavor. Instead, purchase olive oil in opaque tins or dark glass bottles.
3. Storing Olive Oil
Oxygen, heat, and light are the worst enemies of olive oil. Consistent exposure to air and bright light can deteriorate the olive oil’s quality. Here are some tips to increase the life of your olive oil and get maximum health benefits:
- Store olive oil in a non-transparent airtight container. Never keep olive oil in copper, iron, or plastic containers, as the extra virgin oil can absorb the plastic PVCs and react chemically with copper or iron to produce toxins.
- Do not heat olive oil above 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius); the oil will release its flavors and aroma.
- Keep the olive oil container in a cool place with a temperature between 68 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 20 degrees Celsius). Crystallization might occur when kept in a room below 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius). However, it will not harm the olive oil, and you can easily attain the gold liquid’s original form by placing it at room temperature.
- It is advised to store olive oil in small containers as it minimizes the risk of prolonged air exposure.
- If your olive oil is in a glass bottle, store it away from the stove and inside a dark cabinet.
- When cooking, pour the olive oil and close the bottle/container immediately after use.
4. Keeping an Eye for Signs of Expired Olive Oil
As olive oil ages, its polyphenols diminish, its acidity level increases, and it starts degrading. The most common indicators of expired olive oil are as follows:
- Wine-like taste or smell
- Musty odor
- Metallic flavor
- Greasy taste
If you are looking for long-lasting olive oil, purchase premium-quality extra virgin olive oil, as it has a higher polyphenol count and a low acidity level. Most first-rate olive oils have a shelf life of 18 to 12 months, starting from the olive harvest time till bottling. Once the olive oil bottle is opened, make sure to consume it within 6 months or a year for optimal flavor.
Wrapping It Up!
In conclusion, olive oil isn’t only rich in heart-healthy fats but is also an excellent source of antioxidant compounds like oleocanthal, oleoresin, and Vitamins K and E. Regular consumption of olive oil can promote brain function, prevent heart disease, improve digestion, and reduce the risk of cancer. All forms of this liquid gold (extra-virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, pure olive oil, refined olive oil, and pomace olive oil) can be used for cooking, marinades, salad dressings, drizzling, baking, hair and skin care, and preservation of cheeses, herbs, and vegetables.
Want to purchase the highest quality olive oil? With over 60 years of experience, Maverik Oils is committed to producing and distributing the best quality oils, baking release agents, and organic oils. The family-run company is BRC-certified, Non-GMO Project verified, and FDA-approved. Click here for a quote, or contact us at +1 (888) 516-8881.