Cooking With Olive Oil

Cooking With Olive Oil
Other than taste, cooking with olive oil presents benefits to health as well. Know more about such benefits of using olive oil for cooking.
Olive oil is believed to reduce chances of contracting coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a severe medical condition. It is characterized by the narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. A diet rich in olive oil also helps in lowering cholesterol levels in the body. Here are some facts and information about cooking with olive oil.

Three Types of Olive Oil
There are usually three types or grades of olive oil. These are extra virgin, virgin and olive oil. The third grade is usually preferred for cooking. This is because this oil undergoes a better refinement process than the other two. That is the reason why olive oil is considered best for stir-frying. Stir-frying requires the cooking oil to withstand a high amount of heat, and olive oil has a smoking point of 410? F. Regular cooking oils degrade on repeated high heating, whereas olive oil doesn’t.

Health Benefits of Cooking With Olive Oil
In comparison to other oils like vegetable oil, corn oil, peanut oil, etc. olive oil is effective in reducing blood pressure. Research done on the use of olive oil for cooking revealed that blood pressure medication could be reduced to 50% of the normal dose in patients who used olive oil for cooking. Olive oil is known to consist of high quantities of mono-unsaturated fat and low quantities of saturated and polyunsaturated fat. This is the key reason olive oil helps lower cholesterol levels and is regarded as a healthy cooking oil.

LDL cholesterol is one of the major health concerns in recent times. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is termed as the ‘bad’ cholesterol. Gradual accumulation of this agent on the arteries causes severe heart disease. Using olive oil for cooking has also been found to be effective in countering the ill effects of this type of cholesterol.

Apart from reducing the chances of developing cancer, olive oil has also been recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) to be beneficial for the heart.

Tips for Cooking with Olive Oil
Marinading fish, meat and poultry with olive oil adds a healthy and pleasant flavor to the food. Baking usually involves lots of fat. So instead of using butter in baking, you can use olive oil to reduce the quantity of fat. The amount of olive oil used should be about 25% less than the normal quantity of butter.

The extra-virgin grade of olive oil is the expensive one. So you can keep it for salads, dressings and vinaigrette. Extra-virgin and virgin olive oils cannot maintain their flavor if subjected to high heat. That is why they are the best for uncooked food. They can also be used to harmonize spices in a dish and enhance flavors.

Foods like vinegar, wine, lemon juice, tomatoes, etc. have a high-acid content. Use of olive oil for cooking with such foods balances the acidity. It is a good practice to do a taste test before you decide on a recipe to be cooked with olive oil. Best results are obtained if you can pair up the taste of the oil with other ingredients in the recipe.

Olive oil can also be used for preparing appetizers. Broiled baguette slices can be rubbed with cut cloves or garlic and then drizzled with a few drops of olive oil. Prepare delicious dips by preparing a mix of white beans, garlic and olive oil in a food processor. You can also use your favorite herbs for seasoning.

Cooking with olive oil is an old tradition and the list of recipes using olive oil is an endless one. Using olive oil for cooking does present certain health benefits; however, it is important to remember that olive oil is still a fat. The oil causes no ill effects while it is consumed in limited and required proportions. By far, olive oil is good for your heart and adds great taste to your food!