Olive oil has been in existence for thousands of years, although its true origins are not clear. It was first discovered in the Mediterranean region, and today, it is cultivated around the world, particularly in tropical regions such as the tropics.
Technically, virgin olive oil is simply a higher grade of olive oil labeled as “extra virgin”, generally meaning the highest quality olive oil distinguished by its relatively low levels of naturally occurring folic acid (the substance found in raw onions and garlic). To qualify as “extra virgin”, olive oil must possess a lower free fatty acid concentration (less than about one percent) than other commercially produced oils. In addition, in order to be considered “extra virgin”, olive oil must also be cultivated with the least amount of soil-borne contaminants and must not contain added coloring, preservatives or additives.
While the olive oil is technically grown organically, the extra virgin olive oil has a reputation for being better for you than organically grown counterpart. What’s so great about the oil?
There are several health benefits of virgin olive oil. However, to understand all of them, one has to understand just how olive oil is made and what their origin really is.
Virgin olive oil is usually made by pressing the skins of the olives, which are removed at the stem end. The pressed skin is then washed and reused to make a special brine solution. This brine solution is then strained, mixed with water and olive oil, and left to sit for several days until it reaches a natural state. Once the brine solution is ready, it is filtered to produce olive oil. The oil is then chilled, refined, and marketed as virgin oil.
A benefit of virgin oil is that it contains no calories. Because olive oil is so high in monounsaturated fats, the oil does not raise your blood cholesterol level, and it does not contribute to heart disease. As for the health benefits, this is particularly important in the case of heart disease, since it lowers the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol in the arteries. LDL is the main culprit in clogging the arteries and causing cardiovascular disease. Another benefit of virgin oil is that it can help you lose weight. LIT can reduce your blood sugar and helps regulate blood pressure. Since olive oil is also high in protein, it can help you maintain good cholesterol levels.
As to the steep price of virgin oil, there are a couple of reasons for its steep price. First of all, the olive tree itself is growing very far from its point of harvest, taking a long time to reach maturity. Second, virgin oil is produced on a large scale, meaning that the cost of production goes through the roof. Thirdly, most oil producers need to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for virgin oil.
With that said, the benefits of virgin oil are many. Virgin oil does not contain the high levels of cholesterol that are found in other oils, and it can help lower your cholesterol. Plus, it may even have some health benefits related to heart disease, although none of the more recent studies seem to point in that direction.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, virgin oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which are known to lower bad cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats are also said to be good at lowering blood pressure, although studies have not proven this. In addition, virgin oil may help reduce inflammation in the body, since it is a monounsaturated fat.
It is also believed that virgin oil has anti-inflammatory properties, which may be useful in the treatment of arthritis. Since it is not an inflammatory agent, virgin oil is believed to have fewer side effects than other vegetable oils, which is important because arthritis is such a chronic condition. Because of its health benefits, it may be particularly useful in cooking, particularly cooking that involves deep frying foods.
As a side note, the cost of virgin oil has risen over the last few years, but the benefits of olive oil have been recognized. In addition to the many health benefits listed here, the price is certainly worth paying for all the additional value that the health benefits have to offer.