Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Almost everyone has heard of olive oil and most of us have it as a staple in our pantry. There are several grades of olive oil, but the least processed and healthiest form is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The extraction process uses natural methods which are standardized for purity, taste, and smell. In addition to Extra Virgin Olive Oil’s unique aroma and taste, it is thought to be rich in antioxidants that fight diseases, as well as its benefits for health, like being rich in heart healthy fats, Vitamins E & K. A tablespoon of olive oil contains: 119 calories of which 14% of total calories are saturated fats, 73% of total calories are monounsaturated fats, 11% of total calories are polyunsaturated fats, 13% daily value of Vitamin E, and 7% daily value of Vitamin K. It is also known for being a great source for antioxidants, which help fight chronic disease and inflammation. Also, when it comes to heart disease, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is known for reducing inflammation and oxidation of LDL cholesterol, improves blood vessel health and manages clotting, and lowers blood pressure. New studies are showing promising results in its ability to fight cancer and Alzheimer’s.
The most important thing to know when using it for cooking is that it is made from cold pressed olives, so it has a strong, olive like flavor. It is best used for stir-frying, sautéing, salad dressings, marinades, and as a finishing oil. When cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, keep in mind that it has a smoke point of 405 degrees.
You can use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for other things besides cooking. For instance, you can use it as makeup remover, massage oil, face moisturizer, hair mask (generally mixed with eggs or honey), an exfoliating scrub (when mixed with honey), a bath oil, diaper rash ointment, shaving cream, and shoe shiner, just to name a few. I personally even use it for oil pulling, but it is a thicker oil, so you don’t need very much.
The only thing to keep in mind with Extra Virgin Olive Oil is that it does have a lot of calories per tablespoon, so it is good to take in moderation, but not in excess. I personally try to get a minimum of 1 tablespoon a day for heart and joint health.
I look forward to sharing many recipes down the line that contain this wonderful, multi-use oil.