Olive oil is extracted from the fruit of olive trees. The purest and best olive oil is extra virgin olive oil or EVOO for short.
Extra virgin olive oil has little to no processing done to them.
Once the olives get picked from the trees, they are washed and pressed. There is no water added nor are they heated unlike pure olive oil which goes through the stages of malaxation (mixing olives into a paste while heated). EVOO is the healthiest choice when it comes to olive oil. But even then, only two tablespoons a day is the recommended usage for a healthy diet. Due to no traces of any animal products, olive oil is vegan and also suitable for vegetarian diets.
What is Olive Oil Used For?
Extra virgin olive oil is known as one of the healthiest oils out there. EVOO and pure olive oil is used in salad dressings and dips in the culinary world. These include, a basic vinaigrette, olive oil and lemon salad dressing, and also hummus.
Olive oil is also used for frying food such as meat products and vegetables.
There are even health benefits of using olive oil on your skin according to scientific tests. These benefits include wrinkle reduction, scar appearance reduction, and sun damage prevention. It also helps reduce the risk of some cancers.
The beauty industry has also made products using olive oil. These would include products such as soaps, moisturizers and face washes.
Sometimes it also gets incorporated into luxury body washes. In regards to your hair, it can help reduce scalp irritation to reduce dandruff. All you need to do is warm a cup of olive oil and massage it into your scalp. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then wash out with shampoo.
You can use it to give your hair a shiny glow without harsh chemicals, massage a small amount into the ends of your hair. It will also help with those annoying flyaway hairs.
History of Olive Oil Making
Unlike vegetable oils, olive oil gets extracted from the fruit rather than the seeds. Thousands of years ago, olive oil was referred to as liquid gold. Olive oil got first used around the classical era. These would include Mediterranean locations used by the Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians. Greece, more specifically Crete, was the founding place of the olive tree and where olive oil was first produced.
During this time in Greece, olive branches were a symbol of immortality. These olive branches were given to champion athletes to wear as crowns. Athletes coated their bodies with olive oil for health benefits and to give an aesthetic glowing effect. After competitions, olive oil was again used to prep for massages.
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Extra Virgin olive oil is the healthiest of all olive oils; it is rich in antioxidants and healthy fats. Found in the Mediterranean regions, where locals’ diets are rich in extra virgin olive oil. It gets mentioned, people eating Mediterranean cuisines dishes, will live longer and healthier.
EVOO has found to:
- boost skin and hair health
- work as an anti-inflammatory
- reduce high blood pressure
- reduce heart problems
- protect against insulin resistance
- improve blood cholesterol levels
- protects against diabetes type-2
- assist in weight loss
Foods Made with Olive Oil
Here are some popular foods made with olive oil:
- portobello mushroom lasagna
- lemon olive oil cake
- chocolate olive oil cake
- simple lemon and olive oil pasta
- orange almond olive oil cake
- spreadable olive oil vegan butter
- vegan mayonnaise
- olive oil chocolate chip cookies
- vegan shortbread with olive oil
- vegan pot pies with white wine gravy
Alternatives to Olive Oil
There are other oils that are also vegan. Some of them are avocado oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, and canola oil.
Avocado oil may be a bit pricey, but the health benefits outweigh the price.
Coconut oil is one of the favorites in vegan diets.
Rice bran oil is made from the hard-outer brown layer of rice called chaff. Rice bran oil has a high smoke point of 232°C, which makes it suitable for high-temperature cooking. Rice bran oil gets used for things like stir-fries or deep frying.
Canola oil is one of the unhealthiest oils because it is higher in trans fats, though it does contain vitamins A and E.
Olive oil is a fruit-based oil and is vegan friendly. Remember that extra virgin olive oil is superior to pure olive oil with its clean fresh taste. The health benefits are far better with using extra virgin olive oil compared to most other oils.