In addition to adding flavor and aroma to food, olive oil cannot be missed in the diet due to its many health benefits. The list is comprehensive and includes everything from heart disease and diabetes prevention, brain protection, cholesterol reduction to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions. Studies are underway to confirm other health benefits associated with the use of olive oil.
“It contains a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids, which make up 83 percent of olive oil, such as oleic acid (omega 9), one of the health benefits. In addition, low levels of fatty acids work together to lower cholesterol.” “bad ‘(LDL) in the blood, without affecting the level of good cholesterol (HDL), thus helping to balance the body’s lipid profile”, says Marcella Garcez, a nutritionist, director of Abran (Brazilian Nutrology Association) and a professor in Abran national nutrition.
The presence of hydrocarbons, such as squalene, which has antioxidant activity, favors cell health and detoxification. Steroli such as ß-sitosterol also work to lower cholesterol and prevent neoplastic diseases.
On the market shelves, you can find many products and types. “Brazil today is one of the leading advocates of olive oil production in South America; we have producers who are awarded the best products in international competitions. Land acquisition”, comments Júlio Cesar Barbosa Rocha, a professor in the food engineering department at UFC (University of the Ceará Federation).
Among the options, choosing the most suitable type for the preparation must be considered in order to preserve its characteristics and health potential. Follow the features and details below to find a successful purchase.
the severity of the taste
Different types of olives have different flavors and strengths. Those of the types of images, widely used in the production of olive oil today, are the most fruity and spicy. “Those who do not have a genealogy are obtained from a combination of several, with the aim of achieving a level of neutral feeling”, explains a professor from the UFC. In Brazil, consumers generally prefer non-neutral ones.
Classification is given in the form of production by acids. Extra virgin and virgin are from the extraction of cold machinery. “In this process, extraction is carried out from olive fruit by physical means, by pressure separation and mechanical, using centrifugation”, explains Rocha.
The result is an oil of high emotional quality and, since it does not use heat, retains compounds with antioxidant properties. According to a UFC professor, this physical process is less effective and leaves a significant amount of fat still in the residue – called pie.
From these residues, more oil is extracted through more sophisticated methods using heat, media and, finally, solvents. After the action, they are cleaned for use.
Check the label
When shopping, it is important to look at the label, the fat profile, the percentage of acid – as a rule, low acidity, high hygiene and health benefits – and the shelf life of the product.
In the ingredients, it should contain only olive oil. Do not take the product if the packaging indicates the presence of other oils, such as soybeans or sunflowers. Olive oil is extracted only from olives.
Brands often distinguish between extra-virgin, virgin, and casual-style-through specific colors on their labels. “The best option is as clean as possible, that is, the one listed as an extra virgin”, points out a UFC professor.
In the case of imported goods, experts advise to give preference to those placed in the country of origin.
“If you see any cloudy oil, it is likely to be the result of a little filtering, without affecting the nutritional quality”, reports the director of Abran.
Extra Virgin: It is considered to be the healthiest, as it is produced in the first cold press of olives. Having less than 0.8% acidity, it retains many nutritional properties such as flavors, aromas, nutrients and antioxidants. Good for finishing dishes, without going to the fire.
Virgin: is produced in the second impulse and contains between 0.8% and 1.5% acid. It offers good quality, but is a little inferior to the extra virgin, due to the loss of aroma, flavor and nutrients. Use is for finishing dishes, without heat.
Normal: is produced in the process of refinement, contains between 1.5% to 3% acidity, light color compared to other, less fragrant spices and flavors, and lower nutritional value. It is most recommended for cooking, such as roasted, fried and fried.
For all the preparations?
Olive oil is not suitable for the preparation of fried foods. Garcez warns that the place of smoke is reached at a temperature of 175º C, under ideal conditions.
“Frying causes many chemical reactions and forms chemical compounds, many of which are not volatile, that is, they remain in the fat, altering their body behavior.”
For her, if this cooking technique is one of the unhealthy, it is best that it is an exception in everyone’s eating habits and that high fat smoke is used.
Can you taste it?
Flavored olive oil and herbs for cultural purposes can hide emotional defects and, for a food engineering professor, the flavor version is not considered virgin, depending on the quality of olive oil quality in Europe.
However, herbs and spices do not harm the oil properties. Spice use is a strategy to reduce the use of salt and industrial ingredients. “For flavor, basil, pepper, garlic, mint, ginger, rosemary are used, for example, to increase the body’s benefits,” says Acacio Barros, a nutritionist and professor of nutrition at Cruzeiro do Sul Virtual.
Like any oil, olive oil is sensitive to oxide, which is accelerated by light and / or the presence of oxygen. The guide is to choose black glass packaging, the best material to protect the product from exposure to light. If possible, when shopping, prefer bottles that are at the bottom of the shelf, at the bottom of the open.
“From an emotional point of view, it is difficult to detect the oxidation of olive oil, it is important to understand that, because of its structure, it is more stable than conventional oils, such as soybeans,” UFC comments. professor.
Also according to him, if olive oil is used as a salad oil, storage in the refrigerator can last a long time.
Due to its properties and characteristics, olive oil does not avoid fraud and is one of the foods that are not affected by the action of the buffet. A professor in the UFC food engineering department reports that the best known is the addition of vegetable oil in it, because of the neutral profile of refined vegetable oils.
“Consumers rely solely on the sense of smell and taste, but there are official instruments that perform diagnostic tests. Difficulties appear when there are more sophisticated methods of using products containing chemicals such as oils. important to use modern techniques. “
According to a nutritionist, the only negative effect of olive oil, unless one is allergic to it, is the potential to cause diarrhea if ingested in large quantities.
Garcez explains that olive oil can lower blood sugar and blood pressure, making it important to adjust the dosage for diabetes and high blood pressure.
Like any active food, it should be part of a balanced, distinct and more natural eating habits. But pay attention to moderation. Consumption should be moderate, after all it is fat and caloric. “Each gram contains 9 kcal,” says Garcez.
The recommended use is 2 tablespoons per day. “There is no beneficial product if used in excess,” he emphasizes nutrition.