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This Article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Spanish Recipes by Nuria. Please visit her site for a great selection of recipes and outstanding photography.

Olive oil is such a great representative of our Mediterranean gastronomy and culture. From my point of view, is one of the most important products we have. I don’t think there’s a single kitchen in Spain that doesn’t have at least 2 olive oil bottles in the pantry.

 

I usually have 1 kind of olive oil for frying and cooking and another kind for dressing salads, preparing allioli and marinating food. The former is a softer kind and the later is strong and flavourful as Extra virgin.

Let’s see some true topics about Olive oil:

  • When frying food the best choice is Olive oil because it supports high temperatures much better than other oils and does not alter the chemichal characteristics of the food. However, we should only consume fried food occasionally and never reuse the oil we have used on a first fry because reheating oil modifies its composition and it becomes unhealthy.
  • Olive oil has beneficial effects on gastritis and stomach ulcer, improving their healing.
  • Olive oil facilitates the evacuation of the bowel and therefore helps to keep away constipation.
  • Olive oil has a positive influence on kids bodie’s mineralization and bones development.
  • Olive oil contains antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress; therefore it becomes an excellent ingredient to avoid premature aging.
  • Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and it reduces and balances high blood pressure, making it a great ally to fight against atherosclerosis since hypertension is the major risk factor for this disease.
  • The Olive oil intake improves glycemic profile and control of lipid metabolism.
Let’s see some false topics about Olive oil:
  • Olive oil can be used without restriction. No! Olive oil is very healthy because it contains monounsaturated fat, which prevents the formation of plaques in arteries, but it provides the same amount of calories than any other fat would. Therefore, we shouldn’t abuse, especially if there are some overweight problems.
  • A healthy diet shouldn’t include fats on it. No! Fats are essential for healthy and balanced diets, they are an important source of energy. We should choose a healthy kind of fat and moderate its consumption because it sums lots of calories. In general, avoid saturated fats (meats, pates, pastries…) and choose vegetable fats, mainly olive oil (not palm oil or the coconut oil).
  • Some oils are lighter than others. No! All oils contain the same amount of calories (900 calories x 100 grs). Therefore, Olive oil will fatten as much as sunflower oil.
  • Raw Olive oil has less calories than the fried one. No! Both have the same calories.
 
These are some of the olive oils I use daily. They can be different depending on their acidity, on the kind of olives used to elaborate it, on their flavour…

According to wikipedia and based on 2005 data, Spain is the country that produces and consumes more olive oil per capita. Being Italy and Greece the second and third countries in the rank.

In the Mediterranean region, the traditional diet promotes the consumption of olive oil, fruit, vegetables, legumes and cereals; and the incidence of breast cancer and colon is infereior than in other regions. This kind of diet is rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and fiber, which are protective agents regarding cancer in general.