There is no denying that over the past few years, olive oil has become a kitchen staple and something many people associate with healthy living.
Much of the world’s olive oil supplies, come from the gorgeous groves of Italy, Greece and Spain with France and California, getting in on the act too and sending it to families around the global.
Today we are going to take a look at just what makes olive oil so special and how best to get the best out of it.
Olive Oil is rich in mono-unsaturated fats which are believed to be great for helping keep our hearts healthy, which saturated and trans fats don’t do. Mono-unsaturated fats can also help control insulin and blood sugar levels and have been found to help increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and normalise blood clotting.
Olive oil has anti-inflammatory benefits because it contains the polyphenols which are believed to decrease the production of molecules that increase inflammation.
Olive Oil is a fantastic source of the omega 3 fatty acids that are vital for brain and body development, health and function.
The oil also contains modest amounts of Vitamins E and is loaded with powerful disease fighting antioxidants.
Types of Olive Oil
As olive oil has become more popular, the number of brands and varieties has risen giving people a huge amount of choice but virgin and extra virgin varieties are the best to go for.
Virgin olive oil is created using a process called ‘cold pressing’ and only involves the washing, decanting, centrifugation and filtering of the oil which means it should contain high levels of nutrients and goodness and comes with a great taste too.
Extra virgin olive oil
This is seen to be the healthiest, and tastiest form of olive oil, with stronger anti-inflammatory properties due to higher polyphenols levels.
How to Use Olive Oil
You might think that because it is good for you, this is an all-purpose oil, but that isn’t true. If you cook at high temperatures, olive oil isn’t your best bet and you should use alternatives such as coconut or rapeseed oils that keep their nutrients when heated to a high temperature.
Olive oil is best for using in salad dressings, lightly sautéing onions as well as mixing into salsas and homemade humus so you get the most out of the goodness and distinctive flavour.
You can add it to marinades and sauces for meat, fish and poultry.
Spread it on bread and toast rather than using butter or margarine.
Drizzle onto pizzas and pour onto pasta dishes.
It can also be used on your skin to keep it smooth and soft and olive oil makes a great hair mask for glossy locks.
It is important to remember that while olive oil can contribute to good health, it is still oil and comes with a hefty calorie count so a little goes a long way!
Team Pure Beauty