A recent study conducted in Spain has confirmed the widespread belief that virgin olive oil is not only one of the healthiest cooking mediums, but, it also keeps your heart in good condition. This is because olive oil contains monounsaturated fat and polyphenols which help in reducing the amount of bad cholesterol levels in the blood.
As the name suggests, olive oil is cultivated from olives, the tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. Do you know that the European Union member states are responsible for about three-quarters of the global olive oil production? Greece is one of the largest producers of extra-virgin olive oil followed by Italy and Spain.
You must be wondering what is so special about virgin olive oil. Well, even though all types of olive oil have monounsaturated fat, it is the virgin and the extra-virgin olive oil which is the least processed and hence contains high levels of polyphenols. So, if you want to reap the health benefits of olive oil, you should always try and buy the virgin or the extra-virgin variety.
Don’t be fooled by the marketing jargon present on the olive oil bottles. While buying olive oil the important things to look for is the grade (this will tell you whether or not it is ordinary, extra virgin, etc), acidity level (it should preferably be low, the extra virgin olive oil just has an acidity level of about 0.8 percent), olive variety (if you are picky about the flavor of the oil), and last but not the least whether it is an early or late harvest (early harvested olives make green oils, while late-harvest oils are generally golden in color).
What are you waiting for? Make olive oil your preferred cooking medium not just for its amazing health benefits, but, also for its delicious flavor. If you are looking for a good bargain, try buying the Spanish extra virgin olive oil which though very good is not as hyped as the Italian olive oils.