While it is a common fact that olive oil is a low cholesterol cooking oil filled with monounsaturated fats or MUFA, little is known about its composition and what makes it such a great cooking oil. As the name suggests, olive oils are fats extracted from fruit of the olive tree which is found in abundance in the Mediterranean region.
Acknowledged as a healthy medium of cooking with a great flavor and texture, the olive oil available today can be classified into three categories, each having its own positive affect on the body. These classes or categories are:
- Olive Pomace oil: After all the oil has been extracted, the resultant left-over or Pomace is subjected to certain chemicals and solvents which then yield an oil known as the Olive-Pomace oil. It is the cheapest category of olive oil.
- Extra virgin olive oil: This is the purest form of olive oil which is extracted from olives which have been freshly plucked and cold-pressed within the next 24hours. This yields the best grade of olive oil.
- Virgin olive oil: After the extraction of the extra virgin olive oil, the paste is further pressed to get olive oil with a slightly acidic texture. This is known as virgin olive oil.
Nutrition present in olive oil
Some of the best olive oil available in India belongs to the category of extra virgin oil. But the reason behind olive oil being as good as it is, is due to presence of the following nutrients and vitamins like:
- Good fats: Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats which are extremely beneficial for the well-being of a person. It enhances the levels of HDL or the good cholesterol while reducing the levels of bad cholesterol of LDL.
- Antioxidants: Olive oil is a storehouse of Vitamin E, phenolic compounds and carotenoids; all of these are very powerful antioxidants. They help to keep the body healthy by lowering the creation of free radicals thereby preventing a negative chain reaction from happening which can cause great harm by:
a) Causing injury to blood vessels,
b) Damaging the basic structure of DNA and
c) Causing gene mutation thereby leading to cancer.
Essential fatty acids: Olive oils contain the essential fatty acid Omega 3 which is an extremely crucial nutrient required by the body. Since this cannot be manufactured within the human body, it needs to be supplemented from outside foods like olive oils etc.
Polyunsaturated fats: The presence of polyunsaturated fats in olive oil in India and other parts of the globe help to reduce instances of mental illnesses and also delay and prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.
Improves calcium intake: Regular use of olive oil facilitates better absorption of Calcium by the bones thus preventing instances of osteoporosis and other bone diseases resulting from low bone density.
Certain compounds present in this oil help it to mimic the behavior of anti-inflammatory drugs thereby providing relief from chronic and acute inflammatory conditions. This is another contributing factor which makes it the best olive oil in India and abroad. It is indeed something which can be consumed with a free mind due to its almost zero side effects.