This is the first in the Cooking with Oil Series, which will look at the best types of oils to use for cooking, their benefits and why you should add them to your diet.
The benefits of Olive Oil for hair were discussed in two previous articles – Softer & Shinier Hair with Olive Oil & The Difference Between Virgin & Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Contrary to some concern out there, olive oil isn’t carcinogenic.
The use of olive oil dates back centuries and is a staple part of the diet in many countries especially the Mediterranean region. It is derived from the fruit of the olive tree and has a high content of healthy essential fatty acids. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is produced by cold pressing, helping to preserve the essential fatty acids and nutrients in the oil.
Benefits of Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- EVOO contains a vital fatty acid, oleic acid, which keeps the heart healthy and helps the body to fight free radical damage.
- It contains an abundance of antioxidants, which can be beneficial to the prevention of cancer in the body.
- According to the USDA, 1 tablespoon of olive oil is approximately 120 calories and contains 14 grams of fat and no sugar, carbs or protein. This makes it an ideal oil to use in a balanced weight loss regimen. Stick with a diet enriched with healthy fats like olive oil for 6 months and compare the differences in before and after.
- Ever heard of oil pulling? Among the many benefits of oil pulling is its ability to flush toxins from the body.
- Olive oil is rich in vitamin K (found in leafy green vegetables) & E (vital for cardiovascular health). Both these vitamins also work from the inside to strengthen your hair follicles.
Despite all the benefits extolled above, you still need to eat olive oil in moderation. Additionally, be careful how much you heat olive oil in order to avoid losing its flavour.
Read The Difference Between Virgin & Extra Virgin Olive Oil to learn how to recognise real EVOO and avoid harmful adulterated oils. Other oils that are excellent for cooking include coconut oil and red palm oil. For even more extra virgin olive oil recommendations read Guide to the Best Brands of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Hair, Health & Beauty.
I use all three oils above in my cooking in different ways with extra virgin olive oil featuring the most.