Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olive Oil - A Healthy Fat

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Living in Sonoma County in Northern California where olive orchards abound -- you could spend an entire weekend touring estates and shops -- tasting not just wines, but olive oils. My favorite is The Olive Press located in the city of Sonoma.
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Health Benefits -
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There may be added health benefits that make purchasing that - not so cheap - bottle of extra virgin oil worth it.
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The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. (1-3) No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.
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But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed.
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Extra virgin - considered the best, least processed, comprising the oil from the first pressing of the olives.
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Virgin - from the second pressing.
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Pure - undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining.
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Extra light - undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour.
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5 comments:

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing. I always wonder what the difference is but have never looked it up.
Sarah
Vintage Lily
http://vintagelily.typepad.com/my_weblog/

Sabina said...

There is actually a taste difference as well.

Thanks for stopping by Sarah!!

M.Kate said...

Dear Sabina, tks for the infor, we use olive oil for our salads though I was always confused when I starred at all those bottle wondering what was the difference. I understand we can use it for stir frying, which oil should I use? They cost a bomb here...:

suchthings.ca said...

My Dr. was just telling me about this today! To give olive oil to my children as a very healthy source of fat. Thanks for the info!
Maryxo

Sabina said...

Mary Kate,

I use canola oil for stir frying. Because stir-frying involves cooking food at high heats, it’s important to choose oil that has a high smoke point. The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil begins to break down. Oil that is heated to its smoke point or higher will begin smoking and start to impart a bitter taste to the food. Furthermore, because the oil is breaking down at the molecular level, it can produce carcinogens.

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