Healthy diets always recommend using olive oil as the best option when compared to other cooking oils, whether consumed raw or for cooking your meals.
In this article, we will concentrate on the different properties derived from olive oil that makes it the best alternative for cooking healthy.
Olive oils composition
Traditionally grinding and pressing clean and healthy olives made olive oil. With the emergence of new technology, olive paste is ground up through other stages to make possible to mass-produce and commercialization olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil hasn’t been refined. It has a higher acidity level and since it hasn’t been over processed it still contains many of its organoleptic attributes and nutritional value of the fresh olive.
Extra virgin olive oil stands out because of four main nutrients:
- Monounsaturated fats
- Vitamin E
Olive oil has diverse types of acidic fats in its composition, but unsaturated fats predominate especially the oleic acid. Acidic monounsaturated fats are the best type of fat for our body’s health, as they lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood and help to maintain the good cholesterol (HDL) levels. This last one is particularly important as healthy fats such as omega 3 also can decrease bad cholesterol but it can also reduce the good cholesterol levels and that is an undesirable outcome. The function of good cholesterol (HDL) is to remove the any particles of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood, to avoid the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and reduces oxidative damage that can cause diseases and aging.
Phytosterols partially inhibit the absorption of cholesterol that comes from food. Meanwhile the polyphenols act as antioxidants just as would vitamin E.
Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice for cooking
Beyond its excellent lipid profile, extra virgin olive oil is the best option for cooking because it contains the highest amount of antioxidants. In other words, of all the different cooking oils it contains the highest quantities of vitamin E and polyphenols.
Vitamin E and polyphenols are antioxidants that help olive oil support higher temperatures while cooking and their acidic fats will not be altered or destroyed. Other vegetable oils when heated up, their fat begins to break down and begin to form trans fats, which are made up of toxic aldehydes.
When aldehydes are formed from exposure to high temperatures from seed oils or animal fats, when reusing these fats (for example for frying or sautéing) it can be very damaging for your health and has been associated with developing cancer and other neurological diseases. Those whom regularly consume trans fats are often related to higher rates of cholesterol and a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease.
Extra virgin olive oil can resist temperatures higher than 180°C because of the high quantities of vitamin E and its antioxidant polyphenols it contains. Plus it does not form trans fats or toxic aldehydes when heated up. For this reason, olive oil is the best alternative for healthy frying or sautéing.
Advice on how to cook healthy meals by using extra virgin olive oil
Even though extra virgin olive oil is your best choice for cooking, there are some suggestions that you should consider first:
1) If you plan on using it for frying or sautéing, make sure your oil is extremely hot before adding your ingredients to the oil. This will help the food to form a crust on the outer part of the food, sealing in the good fat and preventing excess absorption of oil.
2) It is possible to reuse your extra virgin olive oil two or three times before it begins to break down. It is recommended to only use your olive oil one time, as each time it is reheated; it loses its nutritional value.
3) Store your extra virgin olive oil in a dark area and avoid exposure to sunlight. It should be stored it a cool dry area to avoid the oil from turning rancid and the oil developing an unpleasant smell and odor.