Olive oil is good for health. It's a pearl of wisdom that has not lost its sheen even after centuries. We abide by this axiom and trust olive oil to do good things for our heart, hair, skin, and overall health. But, a lot of the store-bought olive oil does not offer the much-touted health benefits. Why? Because it lacks the polyphenols, which give olive oil its health-giving and healing powers.
Factors that influence the beneficial properties of olive oil include, the mode of harvesting - rough methods destroy the anti-oxidative polyphenols. Green olives are richer in polyphenols than older, ripe fruit. Extra virgin olive oil, which is obtained from cold pressing the olives once, is the richest in polyphenols. The amount of polyphenols drops as the refining and processing increases.
Price isn't the best guarantee of quality. Check the harvest date on the label. Olive oil should not be stored for longer than two years from harvest. Color is not of much help in assessing the quality and purity of olive oil. Green colored olive oil is not necessarily the best quality one. Adulterators go to the extent of adding green color to chemically processed olive oil and try to pass it off as extra virgin olive oil.
Oil should ideally be in a tin or in a tinted glass bottle so that it stays protected from the oxidative effects of light. Educate yourself on what premium olive oil tastes like. Taste extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil. Once you can appreciate the freshness and flavor of these oils, you'll be able to distinguish between premium olive oil and adulterated oils.
Olive oil that carries a seal of certification from a reputed third party is a virtual guarantee that you're getting a premium product. In America, the California Olive Oil Council certifies olive oil. Look for their seal on the bottle.
Premium olive oil is your best bet for getting the maximum health benefits. The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil bring down the risk of hypertension and stroke. Regular consumption of olive oil helps control inflammation and thrombosis. Societies and cultures that traditionally use olive oil for cooking report fewer incidences of cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease. In the case of the latter condition, scientists are researching the effect of oleocanthal, a phenolic compound present in this oil. Olive oil used for salad dressing contributes to bringing down the risk of heart attacks, particularly in senior citizens.
Diets that include polyunsaturated fats, as found in olive oil, help keep depression at bay. On the other hand, foods made with trans fats, such as fast food, increase the risk of depression and related mental conditions. Virgin olive oil is being studied for its effectiveness in preventing breast cancer. Olive oil controls the levels of LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol. The anti-inflammatory properties of oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol, which are compounds present in extra virgin olive oil, help combat pancreatitis.
Balsamic vinegar, which is made from the Trebbiano or Lambrusco varieties of grapes, is a heart-healthy condiment. It's use in cooking and dressing, along with olive oil, is a good idea for maintaining cardiovascular health. Polyphenols present in this vinegar eliminate free radicals and may also help regulate blood sugar. This vinegar also limits the presence of LDL cholesterol, which is responsible for the hardening of arteries.
Real balsamic vinegar is obtained after the grapes are fermented and aged in wooden barrels for twelve years to as long as fifty years. It is very expensive. Commercially available variants are artificially aged and contain chemicals. Premium vinegar contains only one ingredient - grape must.
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar elevate the taste of foods they are used with. Salads, cakes, tacos, steaks and the flavors come bursting forth when you use these authentic ingredients. Once you've tasted the real thing, you'll find it difficult to go back to the cheaper options.
Gourmet Olive Oil Vinegar showcases EVOO and the health benefits of real olive oil and premium products like balsamic vinegars showcased here. Read more on Gourmet Food Lovers News at GourmetOliveOilVinegar.com
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