Thursday, November 10, 2011

Olive Oil Types - Which Type of Olive Oil Benefits Your Health the Most? by Laura Ng

There are about 6 types of olive oil available in the market - extra-virgin, virgin, pure, refined, olive-pomace oil and lampante oil. Because we're only interested in the health benefits of olive oil, we'll concentrate on its top 3 grades and help you see which one brings you the most health benefits.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - This type provides the highest quality among the three for the following reasons:

- Made from absolute mechanical means (i.e. no chemical processing takes place).

- Comes from the first "cold press". Meaning, oil from second and subsequent pressings are not included.

- Acidity level holds for less than 0.8% (some premium quality can go as low as 0.225%).

- Burst with highest amount of polyphenolic antioxidants that help you fight against free radicals in your body and prevent illnesses effectively.

- Packs a strong flavor and aroma - taste fruity and buttery.

Virgin Olive Oil - Same as extra-virgin grade, it's made from the "cold processing" method. But it's of lower quality due to:

- Made from the first "cold press" as in extra virgin olive oil but carries higher acidity level of up to 2%.

- Great taste but slightly inferior to that of extra-virgin grade.

Pure Olive Oil - The lowest quality among these three because:

- Mixture of refined and virgin / extra-virgin oil.

- Lacks strong flavor due to its much higher content of the flavorless and odorless refined oil (85%) than virgin oil (15%).

- Sometimes also known as just "Olive Oil".

Though pure olive oil bears only less than 1.5% acidity level (may seem better than some virgin grade), its overall nutritional values have fallen drastically in the chemical-bound refining process. The only advantage about this pure oil grade is its longer shelf life. I don't recommend you to buy this type of olive oil for health benefits.

If you can afford, I suggest extra-virgin oil to you. Alternatively, you can go with virgin grade. It may not seem as good as extra-virgin grade, but at least you're ingesting unrefined olive oil.

In conclusion, to gain the most health benefits from olive oil, I strongly recommend that you include extra-virgin oil as a vital dietary intake in your daily meals. Although it's pricier, it's definitely worth the investment as far as your health is concerned.

But take note though, never use extra-virgin oil for cooking since it's very sensitive to heat and light. My preferred use for this top-grade oil is only in salad or other raw or chilled foods. When it comes to cooking, you can use refined olive oil but it doesn't serve much health benefits for you.