For centuries, olive oil has been a key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet. This liquid gold originated in the Mediterranean basin, where olive trees were in abundance in 6000BC.
Besides, it was a remedy and a digestive aid to problems such as colic, muscle aches, sciatica, paralysis, rheumatic pain, and hypertension.
But since the growing awareness of some of the distinctive benefits that olive oil holds, it is has gained massive popularity across the globe.
Olive Oil Evolving The Culinary World And Lifestyle
In some regions of the western world, olive oils serve as a fundamental part of their nutritional diets. Ranging from American to Italian cuisines, olive oils are widely used in different variations and forms.
Amongst the varieties available in olive oils, extra virgin olive oil is highly recommended as the healthiest olive oil. It is used in various dishes, bakery items, frozen desserts, salad dressings, and sweet and flavorsome snacks.
On the global front, Market Research Future reveals in its latest reports that the market for extra virgin olive oil is expected to rise at a commendable rate of 6.2% from 2019 to 2024.
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By the end of 2024, the market value for extra virgin olive oil shall reach 2.3 bn USD.
Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Deserves The Title Of The Healthiest Oil
The majority of people agree that extra virgin oil is healthy. Various studies have found that the oil’s antioxidant properties and monounsaturated fatty acids offer some powerful health benefits.
Let us review the reasons why extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats.
1. Production Technique
Generally, three main grades of olive oils are available in the market – refined, virgin, and extra virgin. Olive oils are extracted from olives, the fruits found in the olive tree.
Extra virgin olive oil uses no heat or chemicals and is the least processed type of oil. This unrefined oil is extracted from the olives with cold-pressed methods.
Due to its natural preparation techniques, the oil is pure and retains all the nutrients of the olive fruit. Unprocessed extra virgin olive oil tastes fresh, a little bitter and fruity, and mildly peppery.
The preparation methods of other grades of olive oil involve crushing, mixing, and separating oil from the fruit pulp. The oils are extracted with the help of chemical solvents, thus reducing the nutritional properties of the original fruit.
2. Nutrients Composition
Compared to other grades of olive oil, extra virgin olive oil contains a proportionate amount of vitamins E and K, which have rich fatty acids in abundance.
Every 13.5 gms of olive oil contains
- 14% – Saturated fat
- 73% – Monounsaturated fat
- 13% – Vitamin E (Daily Value)
- 7% – Vitamin K (Daily Value)
Also, pure extra virgin olive oil contains a unique shine due to its high presence of antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants comprise several powerful elements such as the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal and oleuropein, a substance that prevents LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
Many diseases related to heart, cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and arthritis happen due to chronic inflammation – fortunately, extra virgin olive oil contains anti-inflammatory properties.
It contains a small amount of oleic acid (roughly 1%), which reduces inflammation to a great extent.
3. Protects From Cardiovascular Diseases
Studies show that death due to heart disease and stroke is much lower in the regions around the Mediterranean Sea, mostly due to the local diet.
As explained earlier, the staple diet of the Mediterranean region includes extra virgin olive oil. Here’s how the oil can lower your chances of cardiovascular diseases:
Regulates The Function Of Blood Vessels
Extra virgin olive oil improves the function of the endothelium, the major lining of blood vessels.
Prevents Unwanted Blood Clotting
Clotting of unwanted blood vessels can be prevented through extra virgin olive oil, thanks to the high amount of HDL (good cholesterol) in it.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Regular consumption of quality extra virgin olive oil can give your body a healthy dose of polyphenols and antioxidants, which significantly reduce blood pressure.
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Besides, there is evidence of people suffering from a high risk of heart diseases, but eventually, see their health improving by including extra virgin olive oil in their diet.
4. Other Benefits
Apart from preventing heart diseases, regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil benefits one’s health in numerous ways.
Cancer is an illness characterized by the rapid and uncontrollable growth of cells. Harmful molecules in the body accelerate the unwanted process of oxidative damage.
Extra virgin olive oil is highly antioxidant and plays a pivotal role in the prevention of oxidative damages.
Safeguards From Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is the world’s most common neurodegenerative disease that is a result of dementia. Alzheimer’s occurs due to the high production of tau protein in the brain.
Regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil improves brain function and reduces the risk of cognitive impairment, thereby lowering the risk of neurodegeneration.
Effective For Personal Care
Extra virgin olive oil is also highly popular as a hair and skincare product. It has become an integral part of cosmetics that promote regenerative and moisturizing properties.
5. Resistance To Damage While Cooking
Most oils containing saturated fats are resistant to high heat temperatures. Olive oil, however, contains monounsaturated fatty acids and has only one double bond, which makes it fairly resistant to high heat.
Extra virgin olive oil can take heat up to 36 hours and still be resistant to damage. That is why extra virgin olive oil seems to be the safest for cooking at high heat.
Extra virgin olive oil is highly nutritious and undoubtedly deserves the title of the healthiest oil. Recently, this oil has gained wide popularity as a staple food due to its pure and natural form.
Furthermore, extra virgin olive oil is increasingly consumed even in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries. These facts portray the tremendous growth of the global extra virgin olive oil market.
Health-conscious consumers consume extra virgin olive oil to promote weight loss. The percentage of these consumers is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
If you want a diet that balances nutrition and calories and offers great taste, you should get yourself the purest and freshest extra virgin olive oil there is!