Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Veterinarian Reviewed on June 15, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cold-Pressed
Extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed, is the highest grade of virgin olive oil that possesses an excellent flavor and odor. It contains a free fatty acid known as oleic acid that is no greater than .08 grams within every 100 grams of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil that is cold-pressed is first extracted from the fruit of the olive tree without utilizing any chemicals. The term “cold pressed” in extra virgin olive oil, means no excessive heat or hot water is put into the olive paste during the extraction process. This is because of the common belief that it can alter the extra virgin olive oil composition. Accordingly, an olive oil that is cold pressed preserves nutrients and antioxidants that are beneficial to health.
History and Origin
Olives, are known to be among the oldest foods in the world and originated from Crete, Greece, around 7,000 years ago. The Olive tree provides food, timber, fuel, and medicine since the ancient times in many known civilizations. The consumption of the olive’s venerable oil can be traced back to early 3,000 B.C.
Portuguese and Spanish explorers brought olives to America during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. They were brought to California in the late part of the eighteenth century by the efforts of Franciscan missionaries. Olive oil was included in the diet of most Mediterranean countries due to its ability to reduce the risk of having heart diseases and other medical conditions. This fact caused the olive oil to become popular throughout the United States. Presently, a huge part of olive oil’s commercial cultivation is still located within the Mediterranean region. The percentage of production is distributed to Spain at thirty-six percent, Italy for twenty-five percent, and Greece at eighteen-percent. These nations together with the rest of the countries in Europe consume two-thirds of the total production of olive oil. The other regions in the world that adopted the production and consumption of olive oil such as the cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil include Australia and South America.
The cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. It is also associated with decreasing heart disease risks. Extra virgin olive oil that is cold-pressed is proven to have unusual fat content that is most beneficial in lowering blood pressure. It is also known to be taken as a cancer preventative.
Recent studies reveal that the extra virgin olive oil that is extracted from the first pressing have benefits to the blood’s lower inflammatory markers. It not only supports the blood vessels in providing antioxidants, but also provides hydroxytyrosol that helps the walls of the blood vessels to remain strong. The monounsaturated fat content of extra virgin olive oil is a linking mechanism in decreasing blood pressure. Studies conducted by a team of researchers have established that the oil contains risk-reducing effects related to cancers of the upper digestive tract, respiratory tract, and breast.
Extra virgin olive oil is not an allergenic food and does not contain sufficient amounts of purine. An allergic reaction can lead to mild diarrhea when ingested in rather large amounts. It is also advised to decrease the intake of extra virgin olive oil when taking medications related to blood pressure and diabetes. Ingestion of this oil along with the medication will drastically lower blood pressure and sugar levels which can then lead to complications.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan