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Grades of Olive Oil
While shopping one might get confused with the range of olive oils lined up on the racks. Olive oil is separated into different grades.
Bottles labeled “cold press” signifies that the processing of the olives for olive oil was done under minimal amount of heat.
Why use olive oil for cooking?
At extremely high temperatures, oils get damaged especially those which have a high content of polyunsaturated fats. This is true for soybean and canola vegetable oils which form very harmful compounds when they are heated and also includes formation of compounds which may lead to cancer.
To avoid these complications, it is always good to go for oils which are stable at very high temperatures too. Olive oil is 73% monounsaturated which is heat resistant and which remains stable even at high degrees. Studies have proved that even under extreme conditions olive oil does not form harmful compounds of significant level.
Benefits of Olive Oil
There is countless number of ways that olive oil contributes to improving our health and its benefits are unparalled.
Phytonutrients, present in olive oil, can reduce inflammation which in turn decreases the risk of cancer of the breast and also its recurrence. Virgin olive oil has been found to prevent DNA damage and promote tumor cell death.
Olive oil is responsible for lowering the levels of the total blood cholesterol LDL-cholesterol. But at the same time it makes sure that it does not affect the HDL-cholesterol. This cholesterol plays an important role in the prevention of formation of fatty patches.
Studies have shown that a regularly consuming diet, prepared in olive oil, prevents the risks of cardiovascular diseases which include stroke, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. It can also reduce inflammation, carbohydrate metabolism and thrombosis.
Mediterranean countries, where olive oil is a major cooking component show lower risk of heart disease or high blood pressure and people have longer life expectancies.
Components of olive oil have been found to protect the body from acute pancreatitis. Rich in hydroxytyrosol and oleic acid, olive oil has the properties which can affect the growth of pancreatitis.
The numerous polyphenols present in olive oil slows the growth of bacteria which are harmful for the digestive system including the ones which are responsible for infections in the digestive tract. Olive oil is especially able to slow down the growth of Helicobacter pylori bacterium, over population of which can ultimately lead to unwanted digestive problems and even stomach ulcer.
Those with borderline diabetes should incorporate minimum 2 spoons of olive oil daily in the diet. The olive oil rich Mediterranean diet, if consumed, decreases the risk of developing type II diabetes by 50 percent.
Contrary to the popular myth that olive oil increases the probability of weight gain, it actually helps in the reduction of weight loss. Food cooked in olive oil keeps the hunger pangs away and also reduces sugar cravings.
And so we should use olive oil for cooking
Olive oil is also believed to reduce the probability of developing rheumatoid arthritis, can fight inflammation and protects the liver from oxidative stress – cell damage, among many more positive and powerful effects on the human body systems, which is due to the fact that it contains highest levels of monounsaturated fatty acids as compared to other oils and also antioxidants.
Having proven its effect in the development of the human body and protection against many known ailments, what better choice than olive oil as a cooking medium?
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