Extra virgin olive oil is the least-processed of all olive oils and provide a lot of health benefits. It could be described as natural olive juice. Olive offers a perfect ratio of the healthy fats:
Fat Type % in Olive Oil
Oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat) 55- 85 percent
Linoleic acid (an omega-6 polyunsaturated fat) 9-10 percent
Linolenic acid (an omega-3 polyunsaturated fat) about 1 percent
Saturated fat and other substances, such as vitamins, phytochemicals, moisture, and other trace compounds comprise the rest of the oil in an olive.
- Olive oil is mainly comprised of monounsaturated fatty acids. A healthier type of fat, it reduces total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, while raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol levels.
- High quality extra virgin olive oil, in particular, provides a high content of antioxidants, like polyphenols, vitamins E & K, chlorophyll and carotenoids. Antioxidants are key to strengthening the immune system and protecting the body from the damaging effects of free-radical molecules.
- Olive oil contains anti-inflammatory agents, like oleocanthal, that act as a natural ibuprofen-like substance.
A tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories.
Uses of Olive Oil
Olive oil can be used for :
- sautéing, browning, stir-frying, deep frying
- as an ingredient in marinades and sauces such as mayonnaise, pesto, or romesco
- as a condiment, drizzled over various dishes.
- as a bread dipper or simply dabbed on a toasted piece of country bread that has been scratched with a clove of garlic
- When olive oil is exposed to oxygen, light, and heat, it is subject to oxidation and may become bad.
- With proper storage, extra virgin olive oil in a sealed bottle may last from 3 months to 2 years.
- As soon as you open the bottle, the oxidation process accelerates and the oil will degrade fairly rapidly. To avoid this, try not to open it too often. Fill a small steel or glass container for day-to-day use and leave the bulk container carefully closed the rest of the time.
- Place your olive oil in a kitchen cabinet away from the stove and oven.
- Use within three months after opening.
- Stay away from plastic containers as the oil can absorb the chemical polyvinyl chloride.
- Make sure that the container has the ability to be resealed tightly.
- Always store in a stainless steel or glass container.
Refrigeration of Olive Oil
- Do not refrigerate. Refrigeration causes condensation to form on the inner part of the container, which may spoil the flavor.
- Because monounsaturated fat is highly perishable, it may need to be refrigerated. If your home is above 85° F (and there’s no place where it can remain at a constant cooler temperature)
- If you do not plan to use a larger container of olive oil for over 3 months, it’s wise to use refrigeration.
- Refrigeration causes the oil to become cloudy and slightly solid. It will return to its liquid state once removed from the refrigerator and placed on the counter for a few minutes. However, its flavor will not be the same. Every time you take olive oil in and out of the refrigerator, it loses its uniqueness.