Tagged "real olive oil"


Olive Oil Lovers Source Guide

The quality of olive oil that we consume depends on the source – the tree from which the olives are procured. Real olive oil comes from trees that are grown in a sunny, subtropical Mediterranean climate. The olive tree can live for more than 100 years. The best fruit-bearing years for an olive tree are from age seven to thirty-five.

The best olives grow in soil and climate that also nurture grapes. So, it is not uncommon to find that real olive oil can often be traced to olive groves in regions that also nurture some of the finest vineyards.

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The harvesting techniques used influence the quality of the olive oil in terms of flavor and purity. If handled roughly, any fruit is liable to damage. And olives are no exception. Olives that are struck down using sticks or machines suffer damage to their skin and flesh. Sometimes, growers prefer to let the fruit remain on the trees till it falls down on its own. Such fruit, though obtained cheaply, does not offer uniform quality because some of the fruit may be overripe, while some may be raw. Consistent quality of the fruit is an important pre-condition for quality olive oil.

In order to guarantee the best quality olive oil with all its subtle flavors intact, the most meticulous olive orchard owners pick the fruit by hand. The process is labor-intensive and adds to the cost of production, but it ensures that the olive oil you consume is of the highest quality and actually carries the goodness that olive oil is meant to have.

An olive's color indicates its ripeness. Ripe fruit is generally a shade of black. Olives mature from green to red to black. Green olives are plucked in the months of September and October. September heralds the start of the harvest season. Green olives possess a characteristic nutty and astringent taste. By December, the olives are black with a softer skin and a meatier bite.

 

Olive oils get their very distinctive flavors from the fruits that yield oil. The soil, climate, cultivars, and harvesting and curing techniques determine the flavor and grade of olive oil.

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Popular olive oil varieties include Arbequina, which comes from the northern parts of Spain. It is an aromatic olive oil and almost devoid of bitterness. This oil must be consumed quickly, it does not store well.

Ascolano olives are used primarily as table olives, mainly because the oil yield, though fragrant, is very poor.

Leccino is a popular Italian variety found in many high-end olive oil blends. The fruit yields a fair amount of oil that possess robust flavor.

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Will the Real Olive Oil Please Stand Up?

There are numerous health benefits associated with olive oil, but are you getting the real deal when you pick up that bottle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) off the shelf of your grocery store? In the past few years, this issue has become a contentious one. Beside the taste factor, many people had taken to an increased consumption of olive oil for its purported health benefits.

Several reliable studies and sources had told us that we can gain immense health benefits from the use of olive oil (we will come to that shortly), but this is true when we are talking of real olive oil and not fake or adulterated ones. Before we go on to that, there is one thing we need to be clear about. According to international standards, edible olive oil falls primarily into two categories: refined and unrefined. The virgin and extra-virgin olive oil belong to the latter category whereas the refined versions are simply labeled as pure olive oil or light olive oil.

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The primary difference between these two is that the extraction of olive oil of the unrefined category is done mechanically whereas in the case of refined oil, it may involve the process of heating, or in some cases, use of non-harmful chemicals. It is true that refined olive oil come with fewer health benefits when compared with virgin olive oil. On the flip side, the former is also less affected by high temperatures when compared with the unrefined versions. The smoke point of light olive oils is at approx. 240 degrees C, which is considerably higher than those of virgin and extra virgin oil.

This means that you will normally use the light variety for processes like frying, baking, grilling, or sautéing or for dishes where you do not desire a strong olive taste. On the other hand, you use the virgin varieties when you do desire that strong and pungent flavor, for example, when you are preparing salads, dips, or dressings.

That said, what has really prompted the fake olive oil debate in the recent years is the result of several crackdowns on major olive oil brands, carried out by regulatory authorities from a number of countries, most notably in Italy and the US. The reports were often scandalous and it has been repeatedly found that what manufacturers label as real olive oils (no matter of what variety) are fake.

Gourmet Olive Oil

They may be fake in the sense that a bottle sold with an 'extra virgin' or 'cold pressed' label is really refined olive oil (which significantly reduces the health benefits of the unrefined version which, in turn, means that you are not getting what you are paying for!). but the scandal really lies in the fact that most producers and manufacturers actually go far beyond than this.

For example, a so-called 'extra virgin' oil may be actually mixed with cheaper quality olive oils. Worse, it is frequently found that the cheaper, lower grade oil may come from a different source altogether. During the many raids, it was often found that the oils were adulterated with soy, corn, canola, colza or cottonseed oil. For instance, an inspection carried out as recent as in 2015 by Italian authorities found that 9 out of every 20 bottles (and these were all from top exporters of olive oil in the country) sampled were adulterated with other types of oil.

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The story does not end here either. For, in order to make them look and smell like real olive oil,  often these blended oils were colored and chemically deodorized, and sometimes even flavored with beta-carotene or few drops of chlorophyll. In short, this means that it is not only that you are not getting what you are paying for, but that the oils you are getting for your family are laced with potential health hazards.

Therefore, it is highly important that you make sure that you are getting the real thing and not the fake. How you may do that (and it is not easy!) is subject for a different article altogether, but you must do it all the same. And a little knowledge on the subject of health benefits of olive oil will hopefully serve as enough motivation for your finding the right olive oil for your family.

 

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Summing up from many studies and researches conducted over the years, we can safely conclude that olive oil reduces the risk of cancer; serves as a potent weapon against conditions such as osteoporosis as well as mental conditions such as clinical depression; regular use of olive oil by elderly people significantly decrease the chance of an onset of the Alzheimer's Disease as well as reducing the risk of strokes (by keeping the arteries healthy and clean); olive oil, when coupled with a Mediterranean diet, offers adequate protection against skin cancer and metabolic syndrome.

All of the above, we hope, should act as enough motivation that you choose only the right olive oil for you family and not the fake or fraudulent ones.

 

  Real Olive Oil             

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Health Benefits of Balsamic Vinegar

Did you know that there is more to balsamic vinegar than just being one of the iconic ingredients in salad dressings? Apart from being tasty, this flavor enhancer has been proven to offer several health benefits. These include improved body weight and lower blood glucose levels.

 

What is Balsamic Vinegar?

The taste of this vinegar is distinctive and strong. The more aged it is, the more potent its flavor and the higher its cost. You can find that variant at your local supermarket. It is made of pure grape juice and a strong kind of vinegar.

Like most other types of vinegars, it contains acetic acid. This substance gives it a distinctive sour taste. It is also responsible for preventing your body from digesting some sugars and starches, which include the following types of carbohydrates: amylase, sucrose, maltase, and lactase.

The Health Benefits

Because this natural vinegar inhibits the processing of the previously mentioned carbs, their effect on your body's blood sugar levels and ways of storing fat is lessened. This one- of-a-kind yet all-natural advantage explains why many people attest to its weight loss health benefits. As to how this works, please go over the facts below.

  • Compared to creamy ingredients used in salad dressings, it has only 43 calories.
  • When you eat it with carb-rich food, it keeps your blood sugar from shooting up. Therefore, diabetics can use this without worries in their diets.
  • Because grapes are its main ingredients, it contains helpful substances whose benefits include reversing or mitigating the effect of high-caloric food.
  • It can help in keeping you fit and in the peak of health, hence increasing your longevity.
  • It has resveratrol, which is a natural component of grapes.  A powerful antioxidant, resveratrol can induce weight loss while helping keep cancer at bay. For those who are looking to shed weight, this nutrient can activate specific receptors in the upper intestines. When it does this, it leaves you feeling full for longer periods, hence reducing your compulsion to eat more.

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To sum it up, using balsamic vinegar to flavor your foods is like hitting two birds with one stone: you lose weight by taking healthier habits and your food tastes great. You can use it in so many way, not only in salads! For example, it makes a great flavor booster for meat marinades. Use it with other herbs, fruits or vegetables for healthier and more satisfying meals.

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Olive Oil Tops the List of Healthy Foods

Humankind has known the health benefits of olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, (EVOO) for hundreds of years. Today, we have scientific corroboration of what our ancestors already knew.

Research and advances in technology have made it possible to really get the best out of this oil.

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EVOO, which is obtained from the first pressing of olives, has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. These are not found in non-virgin oil. The inflammation-fighting properties of extra virgin oil are because of a high concentration of phytonutrients.

Oil from contains hydroxytyrosol, a polyphenol, which nourishes the cells that align blood vessels. It protects those from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, and actually leads to genetic alterations that strengthen the cell walls of blood vessels. This oil is one of the most heart-healthy foods known to man.

Olives are a great source of monounsaturated fats (MUFA), the good fat. The oil is among the richest plant-based sources of monounsaturated fats. It contains up to 85% of its fat in the form of oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fatty acid. People with diets that include MUFA report low levels of cholesterol, a reduced risk for heart conditions, less abdominal fat, and fewer cases of obesity and hypertension.

Research has conclusively shown this oil as being beneficial in preventing cancers of the respiratory tract and digestive tract.

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The polyphenols found in this oil offer myriad health benefits, and are the chief contributors to the well-deserved reputation this oil has earned for being one of the healthiest foods that we must consume. Terpenes, flavones, flavonols, and lignans are some of the polyphenols that protect our body by stabilizing blood sugar, fighting inflammation, preventing platelet clumping, and in many other ways.

The polyphenols in extra virgin oil have been shown to reduce the levels of C-reactive protein, which a measure for inflammation in the body. The good thing about availing the benefits of this oil is that you can do so by taking as few as two teaspoonfuls of this oil each day.

Extra virgin oil is especially beneficial in this day and age because of the lifestyles we are forced to lead. The antioxidants in this oil fight oxidative stress, which causes damage at the cellular level. Exposure to pollution, unhealthy foods, poor lifestyle choices, and lack of exercise contribute to chronic low-level inflammation that can manifest later on as a serious and life-threatening condition. This oil, with its anti-inflammatory properties, fights such inflammation.

You can incorporate extra virgin oil into your diet in many interesting ways. You owe it to your health.  Join our Oil & Vinegar Taste Club!

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Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Health benefits derived from using extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) are uncountable, and research reveals even more benefits almost daily. There is far much to this oil than what the taste buds can enjoy. It is well known for its nutritional value in the world's longest living cultures- the Mediterranean culture. The many health benefits linked to the consumption of this oil are listed below.

 

Fighting Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that decreases the mass of the bone, hence causing the bone tissue to be fragile. As a result, the possibility of fractures in one's body is increased.

Supplementation of this oil has been discovered to affect the thickness of bone formation positively.  Researchers have concluded that in the near future, this oil could be a promising remedy in the treatment of the disease.

Gourmet Olive Oil

A Healthy Brain

A large percentage of the human brain is made of fatty acids. Therefore, it is important to keep the level of the fatty acid moderately high on a daily basis in order to think clearly, regulate our moods and perform the various tasks of the day. Just like any other healthy fat, this oil is considered a good source of fat for the brain that improves the level of focus and memory.

 

Relieving Pain

Extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal- a substance that has anti- inflammatory agents. This implies that this oil is more or less like natural ibuprofen. Therefore, this anti- inflammatory property makes the oil even more compelling every time as it has a large impact on the numerous individuals suffering from chronic diseases.

 

Fighting Diabetes

Diabetic symptoms can be easily alleviated by taking a diet rich in soluble fiber from monounsaturated fats (like Evoo), vegetables, and fruits that are moderate in carbohydrates and low in saturated fat. Such a diet is helpful in improving the sensitivity of insulin and regulating blood sugar. According to research, a diet rich in this oil has been said to reduce type II diabetes by almost 50% as compared to a low fat diet.

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Protection from Depression

According to Spanish researchers, a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil has an emotional health benefit of protecting one from mental illness. The researchers discovered that olive oil and polyunsaturated fats (found in vegetable oils and fatty fish) are associated with a low risk of depression.

 

Helps in keeping the Heart Young

A diet rich in EVOO may slow down the heart's aging process. As we age, the heart does as well. Arteries may similarly not function as required, hence leading to health problems. Researchers concluded that diets rich in this oil improve the function of arteries of the elderly.

                                                       

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