Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO as it’s commonly known, is a culinary treasure that has long been revered in the industry for both its exceptional flavor and health benefits. Originating from the Mediterranean region, extra virgin olive oil is derived from the pressing of green olives. Depending on where the olives are grown and the oil is pressed, the olive oil will develop a distinct taste, aroma, and nutritional profile. In this article, we take a deep dive into the unique properties of this tasty oil.
One of the things that makes extra virgin olive oil so unique is the meticulous production process which focuses on the preservation of all the natural goodness of the olive. The first step in the process is the harvesting of the olives, typically done by hand or through mechanical means. Special care is given to collecting the fruit at exactly the right stage of ripeness to ensure both quality and flavor. The olives are then washed to remove any impurities, and the pits are removed. After pits are removed, the olives are then crushed or ground into a paste. This paste is then cold-pressed to remove the oil from the solid parts of the olive.
In order to be classified as extra virgin, the olive oil must come from the first cold-pressing of the fruit. Avoiding the use of heat or chemicals to extract the oil is what maintains the purity of the oil and ensures that the health benefits remain.
Once the oil is extracted, the oil is then stored in stainless steel containers (fusti), protecting the oil from exposure to light, heat, and air – all of which can degrade the quality of the oil. The entire process from fruit to oil is typically carried out within a few hours of harvesting to preserve the freshness and nutritional value of the oil.
One of the things that sets extra virgin olive oil apart from other oils and fats are the distinctive characteristics and health benefits. Predominantly composed on monounsaturated fats, about 70-80% of olive oils total fat content comes from oleic acid. Monounsaturated fats are considered heart-healthy fats that can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil, contains antioxidants such as polyphenols and vitamin E, which play an important role in protecting the body from inflammation and oxidative stress.
As we’ve mentioned, one of the causes for the rise in popularity for extra virgin olive oil is tied to its overall health benefits. Some of which we discuss below.
1.Cardiovascular Health – there have been several studies that demonstrated the positive impact of extra virgin olive oil on heart health. It’s high content of oleic acid helps maintain good cholesterol levels by reducing LDL and increasing HDL. In addition, the polyphenols contribute to its cardiovascular benefits by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
2. Anti-inflammatory Properties – chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. The polyphenols present in extra virgin olive oil have potent anti-inflammatory effects helping reduce inflammation in the body.
3.Weight Management – while common thought has it that all fats contribute to weight gain, the monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil actually aid in weight management. Consuming this type of oil has been associated with increased feelings of satiety, which leads to a reduction in overall calorie intake.
4.Antioxidant Effects – extra virgin olive oil is a rich source of powerful antioxidants, which can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that come about during normal cell metabolism. Polyphenols and vitamin E which are present in extra virgin olive oils help neutralize oxidative stress, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and support overall health.
Extra virgin olive oil is more than just a delicious oil for adding into your cooking repertoire. It’s a true embodiment of the phrase that food is medicine. It’s unique chemical composition, rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds, makes it a culinary treasure that’s packed with health benefits. Adding this oil into your diet should be a no brainer – especially with so many tasty options available.
If you’re looking for the perfect way to dive into the world of extra virgin olive oil, we encourage you to check out our ultra-premium offerings. Shop online or visit us in store and we’ll take you through a true olive oil tasting experience.
Need recipe ideas for your favorite oil, we’ve got you covered too. Visit the recipe section of our website here – https://dolivotastingbar.com/recipe/