Is olive oil really good for health?
Olive oil is a staple in our pantry and a staple of our diet. However, there are a few things you should know to make the most of your health benefits.
Olive oil is excellent for health, due to its richness in omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acids. Its consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) in the blood.
It is also rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that slow down cellular aging and in vitamins K (blood coagulation and bone resistance) and E (skin elasticity).
However, it contains 100% fat and is therefore still caloric. We generally recommend 2 tablespoons per day, out of the 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil recommended daily.
Virgin or extra virgin olive oil?
Both are obtained by a mechanical process, without "extras", the oil must meet the chemical and flavor criteria, particularly in the percentage of acidity (less than 0.8%).
What does "cold pressing" do?
"Cold pressed" or "cold drawn", both methods respect the technical temperature used. Mills that press the olive with a stone grinding wheel are called "cold pressing".
Companies that manufacture olive oil in centrifuges or with an automated press, the mention "cold extraction". There is no effect on taste.
Can we cook everything with olive oil?
It can be used for seasoning and cooking. The smoke point of extra virgin olive oil is located before the formation of harmful compounds. However, be careful not to use it for frying.
Since we lack even more omega-3s than omega-9s, we alternate with other oils (canola, walnut, or flaxseed).
Should we prefer organic olive oil?
Not necessarily. It is always better not to have any chemical treatment. But olive oils from contamination by pesticide residues are quite low.
We do not keep it for more than 2 years.
Olive oil ages poorly and becomes rancid. It stays on average for 12 to 18 months, never more than 2 years. As it must be consumed within 6 months after opening, we buy small bottles.
Glass or plastic bottle?
Plastic bottles are less protective of oil. The ideal is an opaque glass bottle, and store it in a pantry. Those sold in an iron container are also better protected.
Is a good oil necessarily expensive?
The most expensive small producer olive oils are made from high quality olive varieties. The best to season. But a high price is not always synonymous with quality because the evolution of the oil depends on the storage conditions. However, in too cheap an oil, we inevitably have a low quality oil.