Virgin olive oil - Arises from the second pressing. It is more processed and
has a slightly inferior taste.
Pure olive oil - Undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining.
It is of inferior quality as it usually involves a blend of refines and
virgin production oil. It lacks strong flavor.
Light olive oil - Undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very
mild olive flavor.
To help protect the fragile environments of the Mediterranean and elsewhere,
as well as reaping the most possible nutritional benefits without ingesting
any harmful chemicals or genetically modified organisms, it is best to buy
organic olive oil. It also will tend to be of best quality and flavor.
It has long been reported that there are a number of health benefits of
olive oil. These are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty
acids and its high content of antioxidant substances. This is truest of
extra virgin olive oil, which retains most of its natural properties thanks
to its low level of processing.
- Heart disease prevention: Olive oil controls LDL ("bad") cholesterol
levels while raising HDL ("good") levels, thus providing great protection
against heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil also contains high levels of
vitamin E, a nutrient with potent cardioprotective effects.
- Digestive health aid: Olive oil is known to be gentle on the
digestive system. In fact, its protective function has a beneficial effect
on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and
pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently,
it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.
- Cancer prevention: Olive oil's is loaded with antioxidants, which
many believe help protect the body from cancer by neutralizing damaging free
radicals. In particular, studies have shown that regular intake of olive
oil helps reduce chances of contracting skin and colon cancers.
- Curing earaches: A number of people swear by olive oil as a natural
remedy for earaches; they simply apply some heated or ambient-temperature
oil to the ear that hurts for relief and regulation of excess wax.
- Soothing the throat and easing snoring: Many people believe that
taking a sip of olive oil before heading to bed can help lubricate your
throat muscles, thus cutting down on snoring. Others have noted that downing
a teaspoon of olive oil can help soothe a scratchy or ticklish throat.
- Fun fact: Cats benefit from the lubricant properties of olive oil
too! Adding a teaspoon of olive oil to cat food helps prevent hairballs, as
well as promoting a shiny, healthy coat. Olive oil is likely to be gentler
on a cat's system than petroleum-based anti-hairball lubricants.
• Moisturizing: People have used olive oil for centuries for skincare.
It is a great skin moisturizer, in part because it contains linoleic acid, a
compound not made by the body, but which prevents water from evaporating. It
can be applied directly to the skin as a moisturizer, or added to a warm
bath for a good healthy soak.
• Olive oil can provide a safe and natural lubricant for a close
shave, and a soothing aftershave lotion. In fact, some mainstream shaving
products are based on olive oil.
• Also, olive oil can be used to soothe chapped lips or soften
cuticles before a manicure.
• Protecting from UV damage: As mentioned above, olive oil is also
thought to help prevent skin cancer cause by exposure to UV light.
• Olive oil's moisturizing properties also have benefits for hair.
Combing small quantities through dry or frizzy hair helps tame and
moisturize locks, especially on humid days. Olive oil can also provide some
relief for damaged hair.
Uses in cooking
Olive oil is a highly versatile ingredient which can be used for many an
occasion. Here are a few examples of how to prepare and enjoy olive oil:
- As a dip for fresh baguette bread: simple and delicious indulgence
- On its own or together with a combination of other condiments for
- Drizzled on pasta after cooking to avoid sticking and increase
- For oven-roasting vegetables
- In the bottom of pans to ensure a non-stick surface and add flavor
to the dish. Note: olive oil cannot be exposed to high heating/frying
The wonders of olive oil do not stop at the kitchen or on the bathroom
shelves... Many people find it to be a highly useful product around the
house too. It may be used to polish wooden furniture, condition leather, or
even as a lubricant for squeaky doors and stuck zippers!
How to care for your olive oil
Light and heat are oil's worst enemy, so olive oil should be kept in a cool
and dark place, tightly sealed, for best conservation.
Sources: http://www.healingdaily.com & http://www.thedailygreen.com