Olive Oil

Health Benefits of Local Olive Oil

For centuries olive oil has been fundamental to the diet of the peoples of the Mediterranean and now its virtues are acknowledged across the world. Properly made, it retains the vitamins, taste and aroma of the fruit, best appreciated when used raw - for salads, dressings, seasonings and sauces.

In cookery, olive oil maintains its stability, even at the high temperatures required for deep frying. Its high levels of anti-oxidants prevent harmful chemical compounds from occurring and its mono-unsaturated fats reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and gastric acidity, protecting against ulcers and aiding the passage of food through the intestines.

There is also strong evidence that people eating a Mediterranean diet have a lower incidence of breast and bowel cancer and diabetes. Of all the cooking oils, olive has the highest level of mono-unsaturated fats - up to 83%.

Olive oil is also used to promote good health in emollients and salves. It is added to skin creams to prevent dandruff and soften dry skin, repair weak nails, tired feet and aching muscles and to prevent wrinkles. The Greek physician, Hippocrates, prescribed medication using oil and leaves for disorders ranging from inflammation of the gums to nausea and boils.

Did you Know?

  • Residents of Crete have the highest consumption of olive oil in the world and the lowest incidence of heart-related diseases in the world.
  • Olive oil can be used to suit your taste, but you will probably find that milder, less fruity oils will suit dishes like grilled or steamed fish, veal or chicken whereas the more flavourful oils (Extra Virgin) will suit salads, vegetables, stews and soups.
  • One of the many benefits of cooking with olive oil is that it can be heated to a more higher temperature than other oils without adversely affecting your health, and because olive oil is stable at relatively high temperatures, it can be used up to 10 times. Even though quality olive oil contains no preservatives, it will keep longer than other edible oils, particularly if it is kept in an air-tight bottle or container and is protected from heat and light.
  • It is best not to keep olive oil in the fridge because it tends to become cloudy and thicken.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • is not only cholesterol free, but it helps to reduce harmful cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease
  • is rich in vitamin E and is also a natural storehouse for vitamins A, D and K
  • is a good source of anti-oxidants that fight the "free-radicals" which have been linked to cancer
  • has a protective role in the prevention of cholesterol gallstones
  • can benefit non-insulin dependent diabetes because it is a mono-saturated fat
  • can help the digestive system function more effectively
  • is an excellent source of energy as it metabolizes readily
  • adds that authentic Mediterranean flavour to your cooking.

Handy Hints

  • Mix three parts olive oil with one part vinegar or lemon juice to make a delicious home made salad dressing.
  • Stir-fry vegetables quickly in a little olive oil for better tasting and more nutritious food.
  • Add flavour to meat by marinating it in olive oil and lemon juice before cooking.
  • Use olive oil when baking carrot cake or bread, or when making pastry. Hard fats like butter or margarine can be replaced by a similar amount of olive oil.
  • Brushing chops, steaks, chicken or fish with olive oil before grilling will give a crispy, golden finish as well as enhancing the flavour.