Extra Virgin Olive oil is good for you. This is common knowledge. But what the Unique Properties of Olive Oil that makes it so special?
Distinct Flavour of Olive oil:
Taste is the first thing. Olive oil has a unique, astringent, slightly bitter taste. Very pleasing to the palate!
Although you can cook with olive oil, it is best eaten raw. Other oils can also be eaten raw on salads e.g. macadamia or avocado oil, so it’s not a totally unique quality. However, the chemical make-up of olive gives it this special taste, quite unlike other oils.
This is due to ‘flavonoid polyphenols’. In addition to giving olive oil it’s unique flavour. These polyphenols have antioxidant properties (good for you), and help prevent the oil from oxidising (giving olive oil a longer shelf-life)
The Unique Properties of Olive Oil has many health benefits:
- The flavonoids polyphenols in olive oil have been proven to have a number of health benefits – especially for your heart and brain. This comes from the phenols’ effect of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol are two of the most important phenol compounds found in olive oil, although there are others. Together, these can help prevent the onset of heart disease and protect against strokes.
- There are also many different fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil. The following are the most important ones:
- Oleic acid: a ‘mono-unsaturated’ omega-9 fatty acid. This is a ‘good fat’, which our bodies need. It’s great for heart health, as well as soft, glowing skin and healthy hair and nails. Oleic acid is also found in several other foods. However, olive has the most of this ‘good fat’. High quality cold-pressed olive oil can be made up of up to 85% oleic acid.
- Linoleic acid: a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid makes up most of the rest of the volume of the oil. This is also a variety of health benefits – including anti-inflammatory properties and wound healing. It is an essential component of our diet.
The chemical composition of olive oil is far more complex than this. Many studies are still being done on the Unique Properties of Olive Oil. However, there is no doubt that olive oil is uniquely heart healthy. There is also plenty of evidence for its beauty benefits. Olive oil stands alone as a vital component of a healthy Western diet.