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 and 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 in 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
1. Olive Oil is Heart Healthy
EVOO contains a vital fatty acid, oleic acid, which keeps the heart healthy and helps the body to fight free radical damage.
2. Olive Oil is Full of Antioxidants
Extra virgin olive oil contains an abundance of antioxidants, which can be beneficial to the prevention of cancer in the body.
3. Ideal for Balanced Diet
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 before and after.
4. Ideal for Oil Pulling
Ever heard of oil pulling? Among the many benefits of oil pulling is its ability to flush toxins from the body.
5. Strengthens Hair Follicles
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.
Does Cooking with Olive Oil Make it Unhealthy?
Cooking with olive oil only makes it unhealthy if you use it for very high heat cooking. If you are using it for simple cooking methods and in the use of marinades and sauces, it’s perfectly fine to cook with olive oil.
Is It OK to Fry with Olive Oil?
Olive oil has a smoking point of 320°F for extra virgin olive oil and 420°F for virgin olive oil. This is a relatively low smoking point, which means if you heat olive oil too much, it breaks down and degrades the health benefits of the oil.
What Can You Make with Olive Oil?
If you’re wondering what you can make with olive oil, below are some excellent and simple olive oil recipes:-
- Mediterranean Olive Oil Pasta
- Ridiculously Good Olive Oil Dip Recipe
- Olive Oil Poached Salmon
- Olive Oil Chicken Salad
- Shrimp With Olive Oil & Garlic
Best Olive Oil for Cooking
Read The Difference Between Virgin & Extra Virgin Olive Oil to learn how to recognize real EVOO and avoid harmful adulterated oils. Other oils that are excellent for cooking include coconut oil and red palm oil.
Tried the Instant Pot Yet?
The Instant Pot is a fast, easy and healthy way to try out a lot of recipes and save a lot of time. The multi-functional cooker contains a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute/browning, yogurt maker, steamer and warmer.
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.