What are the health benefits of olive oil?
Olive oil is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet and it has been a part of it for thousands of years. Legend says that even Hippocrates – The father of Medicine used olive oil because of its many health benefits. Olive oil is rich in monosaturated fatty acids which are extremely beneficial for the cardiovascular system and, if consumed regularly, for your overall health as well.
According to experts, the regular Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, can lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, compared to other healthy diet plans. Olive oil is also extremely beneficial when it comes to bone health and wellness, helps with weight loss and stimulates brain functions. It can improve your IBS syndrome and reduce anxiety.
As we already mentioned, olive oil abounds in monosaturated acids which decrease the fatty tissue load. But it also abounds in phenolic acid which is essential for maintaining good heart health. Most importantly, it doesn’t contain carbs or proteins and just a small amount of hydrogenated fat. It’s beneficial for the skin since it’s rich in vitamins E and K.
What is extra virgin olive oil? Is there anything really extra virgin about it?
What does the term Extra Virgin Olive Oil actually mean? Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with quality. It has to do with how it’s made. There are 4 different grades of EVOO, which are all produced in a different way. The lowest grade is used in soaps and is not for consumption, while the highest grade is the EVOO use for cooking and salads. This oil is cold pressed and is not heated above 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also superior in taste and fragrance.
Even though we think we’re buying the highest grade olive oil, you have no idea how much of the olive oil in our markets is actually fake. The University of California conducted a research to see how much of the brands actually sell EVOO and came across some disappointing results. Among the examined brands which had labels extra virgin olive oil as much as 70% of the brands are selling fake olive oil.
That’s why you need to be extra careful next time you buy olive oil and make sure you don’t get fooled by the labels. But how can you tell the difference between genuine olive oil and fake one since they really taste almost the same? We’re here to tell you how to tell the difference and never make the same mistake again.
What’s fake olive oil and how prevalent is its circulation?
There are a number of different combinations that the manufacturers use to produce this fake olive oil. It could be a combination of part sunflower oil mixed with some pure olive oil. This can be labeled as extra virgin olive oil and this combination is not so bad, compared with other possible mixes. It could be a combination of various substandard oils from different countries, and some don’t even contain any olive oil at all – just a mixture of soybean oil and sunflower oil. Some even add additives such as chlorophyll and beta carotene and still be labeled extra virgin olive oil.
All the olive oil manufacturers sell and advertise their oils as the healthiest on the planet but in reality a lot of them are selling you fake olive oil instead. According to the research many of the popular brands are selling fake olive oil, among them: Bertolli, Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Mezzetta, Newman’s own, Star, Safe way, Colavita, and also Whole meals, etc
How can you tell if it is a FAKE olive oil? What are the tests to help you differentiate fake olive oil from original olive oil?
Here comes the most important part, we’ll tell you how to differentiate fake from genuine olive oil. These tips can help you determine re you buying the real product or just the pale copy but it’s up to you to decide whether you care enough to buy the original product.
The easiest way to determine if the oil is extra virgin or not is to try and cool it. If the oil hardens it means that it contains a high level of monosaturated fats and it’s probably the real deal. Still, this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of other oils present as well, such as sunflower or canola. But if the oil doesn’t harden, you can be 100% sure that what you bought is not extra virgin olive oil.
You can also check if the oil is extra virgin or not by trying to light an oil lamp with it. If it keeps the lamp lit for a longer time it’s probably EVOO, if not it’s probably not extra virgin. But then again this is not a 100% sure test. So if both tests are not 100% reliable, how can you know what you’re buying? Your best chance is to buy the olive oil from your neighborhood farmers, from people you know and trust. It’s the only way to be 100% sure.
Look for Certification
If you still decide to buy EVOO from the local supermarket always check for 3rd party qualification on the packaging. If you see a seal from either The California Olive Oil Council or The Australian Olive Association, you can rest assure you’ve got the real deal, their accreditation programs are quite stringent. And when you’re buying olive oil from Italy look for PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) or PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) seals, they are a trustworthy guarantee.
In closing, allow me to mention the brands that sell fake olive oil again: Pompeian, Whole Foods, Bertolli, Colavita, Carapelli, and Star. Eat Grown Local also reports that Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Mezzetta, Newman’s Own, Safeway, and Whole Foods are selling FAKE olive oil. It’s safe to buy EVOO from: Lucini, Lucero (Ascolano), California Olive Ranch, Kirkland Organic, McEvoy Ranch Organic, Cobram Estate. Or you can always buy locally, from your neighboring farmers.