Olive Oil 101

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, April 3, 2009

Olive oil is the default healthy cooking oil these days. No doubt, you’ve heard it’s good for you, but do you know why or the different kinds? Learn their benefits and when to use them.

Nutrition Info
All oils have about 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. With those high tallies, it’s always a good idea to measure precisely when cooking to avoid sneaking extra calories into your dishes. Olive oil is high in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs may help lower cholesterol when you swap them for the saturated fat in your diet (like using olive oil instead of butter). Olives are also rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, plant compounds with cancer-fighting properties.

Types of Olive Oil
Olive oil is commonly available in extra-virgin, virgin and light varieties. Extra-virgin oil comes from the first press of the olives; it has a low amount of acidity and is typically the most expensive. It has a green color and strong olive flavor, making it best for dipping bread or drizzling over salad and veggies (more usage tips below). Virgin oil is produced in a similar fashion to extra-virgin (from pressing already crushed olives) and it’s slightly more acidic.

Extra-virgin and virgin olive oils haven’t been refined (oils can be refined — or “processed” — by exposure to heat or chemicals). An oil just labeled “olive oil” may be a blend of refined and virgin oils. Light olive oil is often further refined to remove any color and flavor. Don’t be fooled by the word “light” — that refers to flavor and color only, not calories or fat (light olive oil has just as much as the other types).

Varieties of oils also have varying smoke points, which means you can heat certain types to a higher temperature before they start to smoke and burn. Extra-virgin and virgin oils have a much lower smoke point than refined olive oils. This means they’re not good for high-heat cooking — frying and stir-frying or even some extended sautéing. (Read up on the smoke points for oils.)

Storage and Uses
Store olive oil in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight or heat (your kitchen cupboard or pantry is perfect — as long as it’s not directly above the oven). Most olive oils have a shelf life of up to two years.

Since olive oil is high in calories, use it in small amounts at a meal. But since it’s so versatile, you can incorporate it in your diet in many small ways. I keep two bottles on hand — one full of extra-virgin oil for cold preparations such as salad dressings, or simple appetizers. I also keep a milder (and less expensive) bottle of olive oil around for sautéing or roasting chicken, veggies and fish.

More posts from .
Tags: ,

Similar Posts

5 Ways to Cook Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are naturally good for you — here are five ways to cook them. ...

Comments (28)

  1. Attractive portion of content material. I merely stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact loved account your weblog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment and even I success you get admission to constantly swiftly.

  2. I take pleasure in the comments on this weblog, it really gives it that community feel!

  3. more at Voice of America (blog). Filed Under:

  4. Gilma Vedder says:

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It’s the little changes that make the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Dead pent subϳect matteг, thanks for entrоpy.

  6. Although I usually do not concur along with you, I obtain your delivery of one’s opinion one that I can essentially locate nice to pay attention to.
    My encounters with science and nature have undoubtedly been different.
    I truly admire your imagining.
    I ought to get an opposing view on “vulcanism”, nevertheless. As being a incredibly untypical lady, We have been instructed I am very reasonable and analytical. And, much like the standard female, I have triggers that make me cry, but it surely might make you chortle.
    I obtain myself most frustrated and pushed into tears by people behaving illogically. I lastly had a boyfriend take a look at me and say, “That’s just it. People will not make feeling mostly. You must prevent anticipating them to, and after that you’re going to be much less frustrated less normally.”
    Just imagined you may have a giggle outside of me.

  7. Google says:

    Every after in a though we pick blogs that we read. Listed below are the most recent sites that we pick out

  8. These templates glance wonderful. We have a terrific idea for just one of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>