Olive oil has been around for over 4,000 years. Wild olives originated from west Asia (now known as Turkey) and have been used not only for foods but as medicine, fuel, soap making, skincare and even in rituals.
Used abundantly in Mediterranean cuisines, many studies have revealed that including extra virgin olive oil as part of a regular dietary intake may assist in:
• reducing the risk of heart disease
• lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes
• improving bone health
• protect against certain cancers
• improve brain health
Just to name a few…
Can I cook with olive oil?
It was a common thought that extra virgin olive oil may not be used in cooking with high temperatures. However, recent studies reveal that not only by using a good quality extra virgin olive oil is fine with meals, but it may also be providing your body with more benefits when compared to other refined oils. Most cooking temperatures reach lower than 190-220°C, including when sautéing and deep-frying foods.
You can use olive oil when cooking curries, on salads and even just a drizzle on some of your favourite foods. It can be used commonly within traditional Indian dishes also such as curries and daals. You can even just this as a substitute to butter or margarine on top of your chapatis, dosas etc.
What type of olive oil should I buy?
The more local the olive oil is produced the better. Australian Extra Virgin Olive oil tends to be fresher and therefore retain the most nutrients, making it a high-quality oil to use. These can be purchased in local supermarkets. If you take the cost of extra virgin olive oil into account, it may be taking the place of certain supplements people may be regularly taking and therefore even work out overall cheaper!
What is the difference between ‘light’ olive oil and ‘extra virgin olive oil’?
In contrast to many products that are labelled as ‘light’, ‘light olive oil’ is something to try and reduce consumption of. ‘Extra virgin olive oil’ refers to the juice that comes from the olive when it is first pressed. Good quality and local brands will usually have only 100% olive oil in their bottles. Extra virgin olive oil is the oil which is known to have its many benefits as mentioned above. Extra virgin olive oil is unrefined, the highest quality of oil you can buy and is darker in colour as well as having an aroma that comes from olive fruit. Extra virgin olive oil contains many antioxidants and can have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Light olive oil refers to a refined version of the oil that may be lighter in flavour and does not have the same nutritional benefit that extra virgin olive oil has.
Why are there different flavours of olive oil?
You may notice a picture showing how strong the flavours of the olive oil are on the bottom of the bottle. This can help you decide which dishes you would like to use the oils for in case some flavours appear too strong.
How much extra virgin olive oil should I use?
Benefits are shown in those who have approximately three tablespoons (45-50ml) per day consistently, contributing to good health and longevity.
• Use extra virgin olive oil wherever possible
• Extra virgin olive oil is able to be used in cooking curries and hot food as well as salads
• 3 tablespoons of oil a day is linked to improved health outcomes
Please note this advice is provided for the general population. Specific advice should be sought from your health care provider or Dietitian. If you need a Dietitian feel free to get in touch with us.
By Deevya Gupta is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian in Melbourne | W: www.abcofnutrition.com.au
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