You’ll find that olive oil is a kitchen staple in most households where people care about the oils they use in their food. I’m a big lover of using olive oil in my kitchen, and I literally use it whenever possible, even when recipes don’t recommend using olive oils. I just love all the smells it releases while cooking.
In this article, I will discuss the benefits of olive oil and give you ten reasons to use it as your regular cooking oil. Let’s start by learning a little about the olive oils you see in grocery stores.
Types of Olive Oil Used For Cooking
You’ve probably seen several types of olive oil in grocery stores and wondered which one to pick. Well, these oils are differentiated by the way they are processed.
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the least processed oil produced from olive fruits. This oil is made by cold pressing olives, ensuring it preserves most of the goodness of olives. This fact makes it the most expensive olive oil on grocery store shelves.
- Virgin olive oil is the second most popular olive oil that most people prefer to purchase due to its affordability. It is also packed with antioxidants, albeit less than what you get in EVOO. Then we have pure olive oil, which is made by mixing refined and virgin olive oil.
Although EVOO is the best olive oil, the other options of olive oil (virgin olive oils) are also better for your health than other types of cooking oil, such as vegetable cooking oils. What makes olive oil so good?
10 Reasons To Cook With Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the natural oils you should use to cook for better health. You can use this oil in different cooking methods, making it a great addition to any kitchen. Here are some reasons to have it in your kitchen.
1. It Makes Food Taste Amazing
The benefits of olive oil are all accessible to you if you use it in your food. That won’t be hard because it makes everything taste and smell amazing. That’s especially true if you use infused olive oils.
The fruity, grassy, peppery taste of olive oil comes from the phenolic compounds in olives that are valued for their health benefits.
These compounds mingle perfectly with the flavor molecules in various foods while adding a taste that appeals to the palate. Even a simple bean dish is better with olive oil.
Olive oil also triggers feel-good hormones in our brains, making us enjoy food more and get satiated faster. So cooking with olive oil is fantastic for the senses and your health.
Some olive oils are more aromatic and buttery than others. Once you make a habit of sampling different olive oils, you’ll learn how to pair them with the meals you prepare, just like wine.
Highly aromatic extra virgin olive oil is best for salads, meat marinades, sauces, stir-fries, or fish where lots of flavors are required. Refined olive oil will do just fine for deep-frying foods. Whichever you choose, you can see you’ll never go wrong with olive oil.
2. Olive Oils Are Stable at High Heat
If you are concerned about the fumes or compounds released from your cooking oil, you should use olive oil because it is heat stable.
Olive oil has a high smoking point due to its low polyunsaturated fat content and does not react easily with oxygen. That ensures it does not oxidize under high heat or lose its stability.
Oxidation causes oil to get rancid, forming harmful compounds that can cause stomach upsets. Extra virgin olive oil is exceptionally resistant to oxidation because it has undergone very little processing.
3. Olive Oil Contains Healthy Fatty Acids
Olive oil also contains less saturated fats than other cooking oils, such as canola oil. 87% of these oils are monounsaturated fatty acids that are heat resistant and excellent for controlling cholesterol.
These fatty acids help to increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. Olive oil also prevents strokes by diluting clots in the blood vessels connected to the brain, which promotes efficient blood flow to the brain.
4. Olive Oil Contains Lots of Antioxidants
The better the quality of olive oil you choose, the more antioxidants and vitamins you can expect from it. Extra virgin olive oil contains the most vitamins and antioxidants because it is the least processed olive oil.
This olive oil is extracted from the first pressing of the olives after they are harvested. It does not undergo any refining, preserving all the goodness of olives used to make it.
A potent vitamin and antioxidant found in extra virgin olive oil is Vitamin E. The Vitamin E in olive oil helps the body fight aging, especially in the skin, and resist chronic diseases such as cancer.
5. Olive Oil Has Anti-inflammatory Compounds
Pure olive oil, such as extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), contains substances that can improve your health. An example is oleocanthal, an anti-inflammatory substance that can withstand high heat and is proven to improve memory. That’s why olive oil is good at preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Oleocanthal is also good at minimizing wear and tear in the joints, thereby reducing joint inflammation and lowering one’s chances of suffering arthritis.
Olive oil also has a rich supply of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that can prevent diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels, especially in women. People with type 2 Diabetes will benefit from using olive oil in healthy foods such as salads.
6. Olive Oil Contains Anti-Cancer Agents
Olive oil contains anti-cancer properties, making it the best oil you can use to cook food. These compounds, called Terpenoids and Squalene, are known to fight colon, prostate, and ovarian cancers.
Scientific studies in Spain have also shown that women who consume olive oil in their diet are 62 percent less likely to suffer from breast cancer.
The Oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil also gets rid of cancer-causing cells in the body. This oil can also destroy cancer-causing tumor cells due to its hydroxytyrosol content.
7. Olive Oil Supports The Growth of Healthy Skin
Although olive oil works amazingly well on the skin, you don’t have to use it topically to benefit from it. Adding olive oil to your food can rejuvenate your skin from the inside due to its rich antioxidant content.
Try regularly mixing a teaspoon of olive oil in orange juice or adding it to lemon juice when making salad dressing and see how it will improve your skin. You can also use it in olive skin treatments for better-looking skin.
8. Olive Oil Has Anti-Viral Properties
Olive oil has powerful antibacterial properties that can prevent infections if used regularly. Some examples are Oleuropein, a compound that can prevent hepatitis – B.
There is also Hydroxytyrosol, a potent polyphenol that is not only anti-cancerous but also powerful enough to fight the Influenza virus. These antiviral and antibacterial properties make olive oil one of the best ways to keep viral infections at bay.
9. Olive Oil Aids in Weight Loss
Olive oil aids in weight loss by regulating blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol in the body.
There are so many ways you can use olive oil in your diet to benefit from its weight-loss capabilities. Some examples are drizzling your salads with olive oil dressing, using it in your pasta sauce, or making a marinade for your meat or fish.
Including olive oil in this way in your diet, especially with regular exercise, will promote fat-burning in your body. That will help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. For instance, olive oil is the perfect oil to use on a keto diet.
10. Olive Oil Relieves Constipation
Olive oil can stimulate the digestive system pushing food through the colon and speeding bowel evacuation. This is mainly due to its monounsaturated fat content.
Taking a tablespoon or two of olive oil daily on an empty stomach or after food can relieve constipation. Some combine it with fibrous fruits or vegetables to maintain a healthy gut.
Olive oil also contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin E, and other antioxidants that improve gastrointestinal health.
Now you have ten reasons why you should cook with olive oil. Remember, although there are several olive oils in the grocery store, always pick extra virgin olive oil where possible. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits olive oil have for cooking.
Also, please read the label on the bottle to check where it’s from before choosing one. The best olive oils come from Italy, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, and Morocco. Once you make a habit of using them, you’ll never go back to regular cooking oil.