What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Why Is It Healthy?
09/12/2021 | Urla Fine Foods
Known for its rich flavor, versatility, and health benefits, extra virgin olive oil is an excellent ingredient to keep in your kitchen cupboard.Not only is it easy to use for roasting, frying, baking, or sautéing, but it’s also jam-packed with antioxidants and heart-healthy fats.Plus, it’s been studied extensively for its many health benefits, with some research suggesting that it could protect against heart disease, combat cancer, and alleviate inflammation.This article takes a closer look at the potential benefits, downsides, and uses of extra virgin olive oil, along with how it stacks up against other common cooking oils.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a Fantastic Source of Antioxidants and Healthy Fat
Regular olive oil is refined and stripped of important nutrients and antioxidants.
In contrast, the natural extraction process used to produce Extra Virgin Olive Oil ensures it retains all the nutrients and antioxidants from the olive fruit.
In particular, it contains over 30 various types of phenolic compounds, which are powerful antioxidants that help protect the body against free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that cause cell damage and contribute to disease and the aging process.
The fat composition of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is also a major contributor to its healthfulness. It’s primarily made up of monounsaturated fat (approximately 73%), a heart healthy fat that is a staple of the Mediterranean diet.
Studies consistently link a diet high in monounsaturated fat with favourable effects on markers of cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). This includes a reduction in markers of chronic inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels.
Key Message: Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a rich source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, both of which are thought to protective cardiovascular health.