What are the health benefits of olive oil?
Olive oil, being a part of the Mediterranean diet, and used a thousand years ago by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is trusted a lot for its health benefits. Monosaturated fatty acids as its most important ingredient provide incomparable benefits to the heart and to other parts of the body when consumed on regular basis.
A study proved that having regular Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with having other low fat diets. Olive oil is also said to be good for bone health, weight loss and brain health. It also relieves constipation and reduces oxidative stress.
What is good about its composition?
Olive oil is rich in mono saturated fatty acids which give less fat load to the body. It is also rich in phenolics, the acidic constituent which gives the oil its acidic and bitter taste. It has ZERO CARBOHYDRATE and ZERO PROTEINwith only traces of saturated fat in it. It also has vitamin E and vitamin K which are good for the skin. The phenolic acids are very good for the heart too.
What is extra virgin olive oil? Is there anything really extra virgin about it?
The term ‘virgin olive oil’ doesn’t describe its quality, and extra virgin olive oil doesn’t mean it is extra pure. The difference is in the process of manufacturing. There are 4 grades of virgin olive oil. The lowest grade of virgin olive oil is used in soap making, and is not fit for consumption. The extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade of olive oil which is cold pressed, and is superior in taste and aroma. This is not heated beyond 86 degree Fahrenheit.
A lot of fake oil is being circulated, especially when it comes to extra virgin olive oil. The University of California conducted tests among many brands in the US that have a tag of extra virgin olive oil to them.The study came up with this devastating fact: High 69% of extra virgin olive oil sold in the US stores is FAKE!!!
Next time you see the tag ‘extra virgin olive oil’, it should truly remind you to be extra cautious!
So, how do you actually know if it is fake olive oil or original olive oil you are buying? The tastes of the fake and original oils being similar, you need to find another way to differentiate between the fake and original olive oil.
What is FAKE olive oil and how prevalent is its circulation?
Fake olive oil can be simply a mixture of two oils, a maximal portion of sunflower oil added to a portion of pure olive oil, and can be tagged as extra virgin olive oil. It can be a substandard, a mixture of various olive oils from different countries. It can be non-Italian oil,simply a mixture of sunflower oil and soybean oil with the additives of beta carotene, and chlorophyll, labelled finally as extra virgin olive oil. Be cautious when you see the tags of extra virgin and extra pure.
The circulation of fake olive oil is so common that you find many famous brands advertizing themselves to supply THE HEALTHIEST OLIVE OIL,but actually it is FAKE one.
A study reported that many famous brands including : Bertolli, Carapelli, Colavita, Star, Pompeian. Eat Grown Local also reports: Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Mezzetta, Newman’s Own, Safeway, and Whole Foods are selling FAKE olive oil.
The REAL deal: California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate, Lucini. Kirkland Organic, Lucero (Ascolano), McEvoy Ranch Organic are also noted by Eat Grown Local.
How to know if it is FAKE olive oil? What are the tests to help you differentiate fake olive oil from original olive oil?
Yes, after all this discussion, we have come to the most important question: How to tell if it is FAKE olive oil? Is it worth taking it if it isn’t? For the first question we’ll try to help you with some tips. As for the second, make up your mind yourself!
A simple test that can be done at home is to refrigerate the extra virgin olive oil. When it gets solidified, it means it has more mono saturated fats in it, but this still doesn’t rule out the presence of other oils like safflower oil or canola oil or any other adulterations in it.On the other hand, if it does not solidify, then it means it is not extra virgin olive oil at all!
Extra virgin olive oil is supposed to keep the oil lamp flammable. Again, it is not a very precise test. If the oil doesn’t light the oil lamp for a long time, it definitely is not extra virgin olive oil.
Taste, refrigerator test or lamp test are not very reliable ways to find out the truth about your olive oil.
The best alternative is to buy olive oil from local farmers.
You should know that the olive oil from Italy is considered standard compared with the olive oil from other countries.
Look for Certification
Your best guarantee that you are actually getting a high quality olive oil is to look for third party certification. The California Olive Oil Council and the Australian Olive Association both have stringent certification programs that make their seals trustworthy.
When buying olive oil produced or packaged in Italy, look for PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) or PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) seals.
Finally, the ‘TAKE HOME’ message we give you is to be extra cautious and choosy next time you buy olive oil, especially the extra virgin one!