Recent studies have confirmed the healthy role the Mediterranean diet has on heart health and the importance it also has on general health and well being.
Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, so can help lower your "bad" LDL cholesterol. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil can add benefits beyond cholesterol lowering.
What are the Different Types of Olive Oil
Olive oil is produced by the pressing or crushing of the olive fruit. The varying names of the olive oil is dependent on the amount of processing involved. Basically, the less the oil is refined by heat and chemical treatments, the higher the quality of the oil.
Virgin varieties of olive oils retain most of the nutrients from the olive fruit, so contain more health benefits. Varieties include:
Extra-virgin olive oil is the most superior oil as it is pressed mechanically from ripe olives and is processed without the use of high heat or chemical diluters. This type of processing protects the natural chemicals found in the oil which are called phenols. Phenols are from a family of antioxidants that prevent tissue damage and are therefore important for health. In contrast, highly processed olive oils lose these beneficial chemicals. Extra-virgin olive oil is one of the main ingredients consumed in a Mediterranean diet. It is a combination of other healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, whole grains, fish and limited amounts of animal foods like red meat that render this diet healthful.
This oil is produced from the second pressing of olives or from the second-best grade of olives by cold-pressing, without use of chemicals and use of little heat.
This oil is commercial-grade olive oil and it consists only of olive oil, however it consists of the inferior oil and is a result of subsequent pressings. This oil then undergoes a refining process involving heat, chemical solvents, high pressure and filtration treatments. It is then mixed with a small quantity of virgin olive oil to restore colour and flavour.
Light and Extra Light
These oils are produced from the very last pressing of olives. They are more refined and of a much lower quality than the other grades. Very little of the natural olive flavour and colour is kept in these oils.
5 Olive Oil Health Benefits
- Supports Health Heart. The natural olive oil contains 70% monounsaturated fatty acid. As a result, it lowers cholesterol accumulation in the blood thus reducing the risk of heart conditions.
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in almost 40 antioxidant chemicals. This helps to reduce the oxidation effects of LDL cholesterol. It can also help increase the HDL cholesterol levels.
- Prevents Inflammation. Olive oil is rich in phenols that have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
- Improves Digestion. Research shows that olive oil can aid in the digestive process.
- Delays Ageing. Rich in antioxidants, olive oil slows the natural aging process of the human body. It is used in cosmetic products and natural herbal therapy. Olive oil does wonders for the skin by giving it a natural shine.
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