Olive oil – oil description. Health benefits and harms



Olive oil is considered one of the healthiest foods for a reason. It is actively used in cooking, medicine and cosmetology. However, in addition to its benefits, the oil also has harmful properties.

Vegetable oil obtained from olives. Differs in color from light yellow to dark green, depending on the degree of ripeness of the fruit. It is a national product of Italy, Greece, Spain.

Olive oil history

The history of olive oil goes back many millennia. So, in the wild, olives have existed for 14 thousand years. In ancient Babylon, archaeologists have found a cuneiform tablet with a contract for the purchase of 25 liters of the highest quality olive oil by a certain lord Sin-Ashared.

According to legend, once a man could make his way from Mecca to Morocco in the shade of olive, fig and date trees. The homeland of olive trees was Southwest Asia. Travelers’ caravans, laden with the fruits of the olive tree, delivered them even to places where no one had ever tasted olives before. The kings and rulers of ancient states even estimated the size of their fortune in jugs of olive oil stored in the basements of the palace.

People began to purposefully breed them about 6 thousand years ago on the island of Crete. From there, presumably not without the involvement of the Phoenicians, tireless sailors, the olive culture spread throughout the Mediterranean coastline, and the world history of olive oil began.

Olive oil – oil description. Health benefits and harms

Once upon a time, even in the now bare and deserted regions of North Africa, olive trees grew.

The history of the spread of olives is the history of the conquest of weaker civilizations by stronger civilizations. The cunning Romans, for example, subjugated many lands, allowing local residents to grow such a lucrative crop as olives in return.

And amphorae in the Greek style are still found in the Mediterranean basin. There is hardly any other culture that deified the olive as much as the Greeks. She was considered a gift of the goddess Athena, a symbol of wisdom, strength and longevity, she was adorned with kings and wreaths of the winners of the Olympiads.

Even the inhabitants of Athens were compared to the branches and leaves of an olive tree, which cannot be destroyed by any enemy, since they immediately grow again.

Composition and calorie content

Olive oil – oil description. Health benefits and harms

Olive oil is 55-83% composed of oleic acid, which is also called omega-9, 3.5-21% linoleic acid and 7.5-20% palmitic acid. In addition, it contains stearic acid, polyphenols, vitamins A, E, D, K.

100 grams of the product contains 900 kcal.

  • Proteins 0 g
  • Fat 99.8 g
  • Carbohydrates 0 g

The benefits of olive oil

Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, which promotes optimal metabolic processes, strengthens the walls of blood vessels. Omega-9 fatty acids in its composition have an anticarcinogenic effect, help lower blood pressure, normalize blood cholesterol levels, and are useful for the prevention of diabetes and obesity.

Linoleic acid, which is rich in olive oil, accelerates wound healing and helps to improve vision. Vitamins A, D, K strengthen the intestinal walls, bone tissue. And vitamin E is a highly active antioxidant, it smoothes the skin, makes hair shine, slows down the aging process.

Regular use of a small amount of olive oil, replacing it with mayonnaise, ketchup will make you slimmer, younger, more beautiful, give a feeling of lightness, and lift your spirits.

And taking 1 tbsp. l. olive oil on an empty stomach, you can get rid of gastritis and peptic ulcer. Also for these purposes, fill them with salads, cereals, add to the second courses.

The harm of olive oil

Olive oil – oil description. Health benefits and harms

Like all fats, olive oil is a fairly high-calorie product (one tablespoon contains about 120 kcal). This should be taken into account by those who are on a diet.

Olive oil has a pronounced choleretic effect. Therefore, people with cholecystitis, as well as in the presence of stones in the gallbladder, should use it with caution and not on an empty stomach.

Excess consumption of olive oil can cause lower blood pressure, obesity, and an increased risk of diabetes. Therefore, do not consume more than 2 tbsp. tablespoons of olive oil a day.

It is best not to use olive oil for frying. Under the influence of high temperatures, oil begins to “smoke”, and fats – to oxidize, as a result, instead of useful antioxidants, free radicals and other dangerous compounds are formed. It is best used as a dressing for salad and other cold dishes.

It is not recommended to be added to food for people suffering from cholecystitis, since it has a choleretic effect.

How to choose olive oil

Let’s start with the country of origin. Firstly, Greek, Spanish and Italian olive oils are radically different in taste from each other.

Greek olive oil is very bright and rich in taste, which is distinguished by the presence of honey notes and some fruity aromas. Spanish oil has a harsh aroma and a bitter, peppery taste. We can say that it resembles the taste of the olives themselves more than others.

Olive oil – oil description. Health benefits and harms

To do this, the Spaniards often mix several varieties of olives at once. Italian olive oil is soft, slightly sweet in taste, with a subtle herbal scent. It is in Italy that oil is produced with the addition of various spices and spices – basil, oregano, chili, rosemary, garlic and other aromatic additives.

And yes, besides Greece, Spain and Italy, olive oil is also produced in Turkey, Israel, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Portugal, USA and France. All of them differ in taste, as it all depends on the variety of olives, as well as on the climate in which they grow.

Arguing which of the oils is better and tastier is a waste of time, it all depends on your taste preferences. But how to choose a good olive oil in the store, read our tips.

Advice 1. EXTRA VIRGIN lettering

This oil is considered the best as it comes without any additives or preservatives. It can be compared to freshly squeezed fruit juice, in fact, it is a kind of “fresh” from olives: the oil is obtained by pressing the olives exclusively by mechanical means, i.e. without the use of chemical and biochemical additives.

Advice 2. Determine what you need olive oil for

Extra virgin oil fortified with vitamins is ideal for dressing salads, but not suitable for frying and other types of thermal processing. Useful substances under the influence of high temperatures turn into almost poison.

If you buy olive oil to fry in it or add it when baking, then opt for refined olive oil, also known as Pure.

Advice 3. Packaging

Proper packaging is very important. Ideally, olive oil should be in a darkened glass bottle. Such measures are designed to protect the oil from the harmful effects of external factors. It is for the same reason that olive oil is recommended to be stored in a dark and slightly cool place. If the bottle is transparent, then the oil in it is, accordingly, not very good quality.

Advice 4. Acidity

Another important parameter to consider in order to buy good olive oil is its acidity level. It is determined by the content of oleic acid in the oil. Your task is to buy olive oil with the lowest possible acidity.

Advice 5. Colour

As we said before, quality oil is sold in tinted glass bottles, through which the real color of the oil cannot be seen. Therefore, you can only check the color at home. But still pay attention to this fact when you open the stopper in the kitchen.

Olive oil – oil description. Health benefits and harms

Quality olive oil has a pleasant golden color. The gray or deep green color of the oil indicates that it was made from overripe olives.

Advice 6. Manufacturing date

Olive oil is not wine. Over time, it does not gain useful properties, but only loses in quality. Therefore, be sure to pay attention to the date of manufacture. On average, it should take approximately 18 months from the date of manufacture to the expiration date.

This is the period of time when olive oil remains healthy and of high quality. Try to choose the freshest olive oil that has been produced recently.

Advice 7. Taste

Olive oil flavor always plays a decisive role. Wateriness, rancidity, vinegar or metallic taste are considered obvious deviations. Good oil can be sweetish, slightly bitter or sour – it all depends on the type of olives and the country of origin.

But! Even if you choose butter according to the rules, there is no guarantee that you will like its taste. As we already said, oils from different countries are radically different from each other. Perhaps you will not “go” with oil from Greece, but you will fall in love with Spanish or Turkish from the first drop. Therefore – taste it.

Olive oil classification

Depending on the quality indicators, identified on the basis of the physicochemical and organoleptic properties of the oil, the European legislation divides olive oil into different categories.

On the shelves of any store, you can see four main categories of olive oil, suitable for consumption:

  • Extra virgin olive oil, or in Spanish “Aceite de Oliva Extra Virgen”.
  • Unrefined olive oil (Virgin olive oil) or in Spanish “Aceite de Oliva Virgen”.
  • Refined olive oil with the addition of unrefined olive oils (Olive oil) in Spanish “Aceite de Oliva”.
  • Refined olive oil from pomace with the addition of unrefined olive oil (Olive-pomace oil) Extra virgin olive oil, Romas or in Spanish “Aceite de orujo de oliva”.

The best and healthiest olive oil is extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality.

Interesting Facts

Olive oil – oil description. Health benefits and harms

Several Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Spain and France have museums dedicated to the history of olive oil.

In Madrid, there is the International Olive Council, which controls the production of 95% of the world’s olive oil production. This intergovernmental organization makes one of its tasks the popularization of oil all over the world. It was created under the auspices of the UN in 1959.

Olive oil is one of the most popular food products in the world and is subject to frequent counterfeiting. In 1981, oil, diluted with industrial rapeseed, went on sale, the use of which led to the death of about 700 Spaniards. According to some estimates, about 40 percent of the olive oil on the world market today is counterfeit.

Olive oil production

To obtain oil, the olive fruits are crushed, then the mass is stirred and then the oil is squeezed out. For this, presses of various designs are used, most often centrifuges. It is worth noting that the extra virgin olive pomace is also used to produce olive oil, which is considered to be of the worst quality.

The most valuable is the oil, which, upon receipt, did not heat up to a temperature above 27 degrees. This oil is indicated by the word “cold” on the label.

1 Comment

  1. Hoe zit het met de biologische kwaliteit.
    In Griekenland mogen geen chemische stoffen gebruikt worden….waarom worden olyven groen ,onryp geplukt en dan behandelt om ze zwart of ryp te maken ?

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