How many different types of olive oil are there?
How many different types of olive oil are there? Which one should you be using?
One of the most important ingredients to a healthy Mediterranean diet is, of course, olive oil. Spain produces approximately 45% of the world’s olive oil. There are many different varieties of olives and the Picual olives are the most commonly used as they have a higher oil content than some of the other varieties. Remember that olive oil is 100% fat and contains approximately 120 calories per tablespoon. So use with moderation!
The quality of your olive oil depends on how it has been made, what has been added to it and the acid content.
There are 3 main types of quality:
- Extra Virgin olive oil is the healthiest type of olive oil that exits. Nothing is added to this type of olive oil, it is 100% natural. It is high in natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is usually a darker green colour and has a lot of flavour. It is made by simply washing the harvested olives, crushing them, and extracting the juice. The acidity level in this oil is less than 1%. It shouldn’t really be used for deep frying as it has a lower smoking point than vegetable oil, and heating it makes it lose flavour. You would use this oil for dressing a salad or having on bread as it has more flavour. You can also use Extra virgin olive oil to moisturise your skin, hair and scalp or as a makeup remover.
- Virgin olive oil is produced in the same way with no additives, 100% natural, using riper olives. It has a slightly lighter flavour and is possibly lighter in colour also. This oil can be used for cooking a stir fry for example and would have an acidity level of about 2%.
- Standard or pure olive oil is a lower quality oil that goes through a refining process and is often blended with other vegetable oils when made. Often olives that are in a bad condition are used in this process. It is much lighter in colour, is practically tasteless and would have no bitterness to it. Heat and chemicals are also used in the process of making this oil to remove any flaws in the olives, making it more highly acidic. This one would be used as an all-purpose cooking oil and contains far fewer amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties than other types of olive oil.
If you see “light” or “extra light” olive oil in the supermarket, it means that it is extra refined, not low in calories, and is the worst quality olive oil on the market.
Did you know that in Spain old, used olive oil can be used to make soap and detergent? You must never dispose of old oil by pouring it down the sink as it can easily cause the pipes to block and even block the sewers. It can be put into a container and put in the rubbish bins or nowadays can be taken to a recycling point. If you have an orange recycling bin in your area, it is for the safe disposal of vegetable/olive oil. Whichever kind of oil you decide to use, it should be stored in a dry and dark place. Once opened it can last for approximately 1 year.
The many health benefits of olive oil have been widely studied over the past years. It contains beneficial fatty acids, is high in antioxidants, vitamins E and K. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to relieve arthritis. Olive oil can help prevent heart disease, strokes, diabetes and can lower blood pressure. It is also good for overall brain health and can prevent Alzheimer’s, according to Spanish research a diet rich in olive oil can also protect against mental illness such as depression.
Used topically it can prevent stretch marks, nappy rash and other general skin/scalp irritations.
So, if you would like easy access to some of the best quality olive oil on the planet, why not visit the Costa Blanca? It will be one of the best decisions you will ever make!
If you need help or advice regarding legal matters, tax, or help with or finding your dream home here on the Costa Blanca, please don´t hesitate to contact Amanda on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0034 966761741.
Written by Jo Garcia Phillips