There are many reasons which make olive oil a healthier option for cooking, especially in India. Let us take a brief look at some of the reasons behind this fact.
With an increase in the general awareness about the health people in India are gradually beginning to understand the ill-effects of the use of excess oils and spices in their daily food. They are thus graduating towards healthier options like olive oil cooking, salads, sandwiches etc., in order to ensure proper health even when people are not able to incorporate a proper exercise regime in their daily routine due to paucity of time.
This has resulted in a definite shift towards the use of olive oil as the cooking oil. This use of olive oil has many health benefits which help to enable good living and good looking from within the body. In fact today olive oil is the dietary staple for many countries across the world and it is these countries which consist of many of the world’s healthiest people. Loaded with antioxidants and fatty acids which are extremely beneficial, the olive oil is definitely an excellent choice for all types of cooking.
The usefulness of olive oil especially for high heat cooking methods stems from the presence of a relatively high amount of monounsaturated fat. The stability of the oil even in high heat depends on the presence of double bonds within each fat molecule. The more the double bonds present, the less is the stability of the oil and an unstable oil is extremely detrimental for health since:
- It tends to form harmful compounds like aldehydes, lipid peroxides etc.,
- Carcinogenic compounds present within it tend to vaporise thereby increasing the risk of lung cancer etc.
But due to the presence of only one double bond in the monounsaturated fat component of olive oil, they are quite stable and hence do not decompose into harmful compounds thereby making it the best cooking oil.
Another factor which makes olive oil the best cooking oil for health is the fact that polyunsaturated fatty acids are present in it in very low quantities while antioxidants are present in high quantities. Thus, even if the polyunsaturated fat, present in olive oil, oxidises, the antioxidants present counter the damage thereby protecting the health of people consuming it. This quality also prevents olive oil from going rancid even at high temperatures and also reduces the formation of harmful Trans fats.
Extra virgin olive oil which is obtained by the first cold press of olives and pits, is rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants. Hence it fights against the free radicals present in the body thereby preventing them from oxidation. This saves the cell membranes from any harmful chain reaction that would otherwise occur due to the oxidation of free radicals.
Another reason for an increase in the olive oil use is its relatively high smoke point. The smoke point of an oil is said to be that temperature at which it starts to degrade and the smoke produced become visible. A low smoking point tends to convert the fatty acids into various harmful and even potentially toxic chemical compounds. But the fact that olive oil has quite a high smoke point makes it an ideal choice for healthy cooking.