Health benefits of olive oil are well known for centuries, but in the past decade its positive effects have been scientifically validated.
Olive oil is rich in essential substances, which makes it one of the most healthiest foods.
Olive oil has a great impact on heart health and blood vessels. Also it has anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to improve the immune system.
This oil protects against chronic degenerative diseases, such as atherosclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, asthma. It also maintains bone and joint health, helps with gastric ulcer, increased secretion of gastric acid and digestive disturbances.
In recent years, olive oil has been linked with reducing the risk cancer development.
Olive oil nutrients
Olive oil is rich in vitamins A, E, D and K.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and a great assistant in boosting the immunity system. Also, it’s an extremely beneficial to eye health and preserving sight.
Vitamin D helps in the prevention and treatment of many diseases such as diabetes, asthma, psoriasis, autoimmune diseases as well as muscular and renal diseases. Relieves depression, strengthens immunity, helps prevent colds and flues and health of teeth and bones.
Thanks to the powerful antioxidant, vitamin E, olive oil is classified as a guard of heart and circulatory system.
Vitamin K has a positive effect on blood clotting, and is of great benefit when it comes to prevention of heart diseases and building tissue and bone.
Olive oil is rich in chlorophyll, lecithin, carotene, polyphenols.
Lecithin is particularly well known for protecting bones and heart, and it has a positive effect on blood circulation, memory and concentration.
Thanks to the abundance of mono unsaturated acids, olive oil increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and lowers bad cholesterol (LDL).
These compounds are responsible for brain health, brain activity and maintaining the processes of thinking and memory.
High levels of antioxidants contained in olive oil suppress negative effects of free radicals.
Olive oil is considered as an excellent natural protector against harmful effects of solar radiation, contributing to creating beautiful tan during sunbathing, and also it helps in the treatment of sunburn.
Types of olive oil and preparation methods
The fleshy olives are full of olive oil.
Process of preparing this valuable oil consists entirely of grinding ripe olives, and then molding them for the purpose of extraction.
Cold pressing is the best and cleanest way of processing olives. This process is used for making the finest olive oil called extra virgin oil
It’s characterized by a dark green color, mild smell and taste.
It’s particularly appreciated for ideal ratio of fatty acids and high content of health beneficial substances.
Virgin olive oil is obtained in a similar way as extra virgin, but from olives of lower quality.
Recent studies have compared anti-inflammatory value of extra virgin olive oil with regular virgin olive oil. It has been shown that extra virgin olive oil had the ability to reduce inflammatory markers in cases where virgin didn’t.
This discovery is associated with high concentration of phytonutrients (especially polyphenols) in the composition of extra virgin olive oil.
However, when talking about quality of olive oil, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many factors that affect quality, such as harvesting process, way of storing and extracting.
Buying and storing
How to choose the best kind of olive oil:
- Use only extra virgin olive oil
- Pay attention to the country of origin – be sure to give preference to Mediterranean countries. For example olive oils from Croatia have really good quality
- Check the manufacturing date, because olive oil has a shelf life of about two years if stored correctly
- If manufacturing date is not listed or is unreadable look for another bottle
- If after opening the bottle you have any doubts when it comes to taste or smell, do not hesitate to return it
Storage of olive oil:
- Olive oil should be keept in opaque glass bottle
- Always store in a cool, dark and dry place
- You can keep it in the fridge, but keep in mind that it will “blur”, but this has no effect on its quality
- After each use, tightly cap the bottle