Olive oil is among the healthy and stable oils you can use for cooking. Its stability makes it ideal for both low and high-heat cooking methods.
Olive oil is extracted from olivesfruits from the olive plant. Ithas saturated and unsaturated fats and is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, which are beneficial to the body. Since some oils produce toxic compounds when heated at high temperatures, caution is needed when choosing which oil to use. These compounds are carcinogenic and are mostly released by oils that contain polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils. Contrastingly, stable oilswill not release these harmful compounds because they have a high smoke point and oxidative stability. Such oils require a very high temperature before producing smoke, and their high oxidative stability can resist oxidation. Stick around and read this article to understand the various factors that make olive oil good for cooking.
a. It is rich in antioxidants
Olive oil contains vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants prevent certain diseases by fighting free radicals in the body. If free radicals are not eliminated from the body, they cause damages to the cells, leading to diseases such as cancer. Besides, theyalso protect the body from inflammation and blood cholesterol oxidation, lowering the risks fordiseases like heart failure and high blood pressure.
b. It has a high smoking point
Olive oil contains saturated and monounsaturated fats, makingit stable at very high temperatures and appropriate for deep frying. Oils that contain few nutrients and fatty acids have a high smoking point and are better than those with many fatty acids whichburn faster, producing soot at a lower boiling point. Olive oil withstands high temperatures of about 190-207 degrees Celsius before producing smoke. The high boiling point makes it good for deep frying foods such as chips. In addition, itshigh smoking point makes it retain all nutrients and antioxidants. Moreover, it does not interfere with the nutrients in the cooked food. Contrastingly, the low-boiling point oils ofteninterfere with the food being cooked andits nutrients.
c. Olive oil does not cause weight gain
Most oils used in cooking are associated with gaining weight and obesity. In contrast, olive oil does not lead to an increase in weight but aids in weight loss. The reason behind this is the fact that it has little to no polyunsaturated fats.
d. It has high oxidative stability
Olive oil can resist oxidation that formsharmful compounds when oil is heated. Sometimes, such oilsoxidize at room temperature, though this is rare. The compounds formed after oxidation are toxic, and the process also interferes with oil’s flavor, nutrients, and color. Moreover, the food also goes bad after the oil used in cooking oxidizes. However, olive oil possesses high oxidative stability that resists oxidation even when heated at very high temperatures, hence has none of these disadvantages.
e. It prevents stroke
Stroke is among the leading causes of death worldwide. Olive oil reduces the chances of getting stroke and other heart diseases since itcontains monounsaturated fat, reducing the risk of a heart attack. Other oils such as vegetable oils have been linked to increased chances of such diseases.
f. Olive oil can fight Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition that affects thinking, behavior, and memory and might interfere with daily activities. It is caused by substances called beta-amyloid, which accumulates in the brain cells. Eating food cooked using olive oil may aid in removing these substances and improve brain functioning. However, there is a need for more research to show how olive oil is linked to improved cognition.
g. It improves gut health
Olive oil inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut, giving room for the growth ofhealthy bacteria in the alimentary canal. One of the harmful bacteria that grow in the gut is Helicobacter pylori, which is so common today. If not well treated, they can cause scarring of the intestines,resulting instomach ulcers and, later, stomach cancer. Moreover,oil has shown the ability to reduce infections that are resistant to antibiotics.
h. It contains anti-inflammatory properties
Some diseases, such as arthritis, are caused by inflammation in the joints. When immune cells attack the blood cells, inflammation results. Moderate inflammation is harmless, but excessive cell inflammation is linked to many chronic illnesses. Olive oil can improve this condition by increasing inflammatory markers, reducing swellings and jointstiffness.
i. It has a sweet aroma
Olive oil can be used to cook both sweet and salty foods. This owes to itsflavor that complements all dishes by giving them a strong, attractive smell. Moreover, the smell remains longer after cooking.
j. It improves bone health
Virgin olive oil contains polyphenols that reduce bone loss. While a person may lose bones because of many reasons, aging is the primary one. Yet, olive oil has polyphenols that prevent the breakdown of calcium in the bones, keeping the bones strong.
Olive oil is a quality oil that you should try out in your meals due to its health benefits. It has a high smoking point, making it fit for all cooking techniques. Its oxidation resistance is another perfect qualitysince it does not oxidize easily, keeping the food fresh. Other reasons make it ideal for cooking, including the polyphenols and antioxidants which fight oxidative stress, inflammation, and chronic illnesses.