I recently posted pic of a bottle of Star brand Butter Flavored Olive Oil. Well I did some research based on information shared with me by my frat brother, and I quickly realized why that bottle of oil was so inexpensive…cheap. According to a University of California at Davis study, more than two-thirds of common brands of extra-virgin olive oil found in California grocery stores aren’t what they claim to be. Instead, the oils were spoiled or made from lower quality olives unfit to be labeled “extra virgin.” Worse, some were outright counterfeits, made from soy, hazelnut, and even fish oils mixed with low grade olive-pomace oil. This can be toxic and dangerous for human consumption. And the California findings can be applied in nearly every grocery store across the country.
So from now on I will purchase olive oil I know to be authentic, and combine it with clarified cream butter whenever I want that rich flavor. Some time ago I connected with a friend on Instagram whose family produces ‘real’ EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) in Cyprus, Greece…but he is from Baton Rouge (La). The company is Villa Cyprus Imports (http://www.villacyprusimports.com/). The olive oil is Villa Apolena Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I just ordered my first bottle online, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the taste.
The question many are probably now pondering is: WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT EVOO?
The health benefits of olive oil are extensive with new positive attributes discovered all the time.
In addition to bolstering the immune system and helping to protect against viruses, olive oil has also been found to be effective in fighting against diseases such as:
Cancer: The phytonutrient in olive oil, oleocanthal, mimics the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation, which can decrease the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence. Squalene and lignans are among the other olive oil components being studied for their possible effects on cancer.
Heart Disease: Olive oil helps lower levels of blood cholesterol leading to heart disease.
Oxidative Stress: Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E, long thought to minimize cancer risk. Among plant oils, olive oil is the highest in monounsaturated fat, which doesn’t oxidize in the body, and it’s low in polyunsaturated fat, the kind that does oxidize.
Blood Pressure: Recent studies indicate that regular consumption of olive oil can help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Diabetes: It has been demonstrated that a diet that is rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately rich in carbohydrates and soluble fiber from fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains is the most effective approach for diabetics. It helps lower “bad” low-density lipoproteins while improving blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity.
Obesity: Although high in calories, olive oil has shown to help reduce levels of obesity.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Although the reasons are still not fully clear, recent studies have proved that people with diets containing high levels of olive oil are less likely to develop rheumatiod arthritis.
Osteoporosis: A high consumption of olive oil appears to improve bone mineralization and calcification. It helps calcium absorption and so plays an important role in aiding sufferers and in preventing the onset of Osteoporosis.
Here are some other considerations about the benefits of EVOO that can be further researched at the following link: Olive Oil Health Benefits and Nutrition
Olive Oil Might Help Prevent Strokes
Olive Oil Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Olive Oil Keeps the Heart Young
Olive Oil Fights Osteoporosis
Olive Oil May Protect from Depression
Olive Oil Found to Help Prevent Skin Cancer
The Mediterranean Diet and Metabolic Syndrome
Olive Oil Protects Against Breast Cancer
There are actually hundreds of varieties of olives, but only a few main classifications for olive oil, including:
― EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, which is produced by cold pressing and does not use chemicals for refinement.
― VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, comes from a second pressing or riper olives but is still good quality.
― LIGHT OLIVE OIL or BLENDS are refined olive oil, which usually means they have been chemically processed and mixed with other low quality oils.
― LAMPANTE, is low quality and the Italian word for lamp oil and is considered unfit for human consumption. It may be derived from old, decaying olives, and has been chemically processed.
“Bad” olives have free radicals and impurities, so consuming NON-Virgin olive oil could potentially be bad for your health. Consuming REAL Olive Oil is truly beneficial because of the anti-inflammatory compounds, anti-oxidants, and multiple heart healthy ingredients.
Now I know it might not be convenient to find and purchase pure EVOO, but here are some things to look for when shopping:
Be suspicious of any extra virgin olive oil that costs less than $10 a liter.
Look for a harvesting date on the label
Shop for oils in dark bottles. This protects the oil from oxidation.
Avoid “Light” olive oil at all costs. This is the lowest quality olive oil on the plant.
If you can find oils with the International Olive Oil Council (IOC) certification, go for those.
Buy Californian olive oils, which are far less adulterated than imported oil.
Do your homework. Find a reputable company or source and buy small bottles from them.
Also check out: The World’s Healthiest Foods: Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
Bottom line…EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is good for the body…BON APPÉTIT!