A new study published October 22 reinforces once again that olive oil is one of the best oils for cooking compared to other seed oils. Researchers based their conclusion on a few different factors, including nutritional content and the oil's ability to maintain quality under high temperatures.
Published in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists note that various oils have different physical, chemical and nutritional properties that can be degraded under high heat and repeated use.
Many cooking oils can become impaired while heating in the pan or frying, and the food that you're cooking can actually also lose its nutritional content, making your choice of oil critical for producing a healthy dish.
Mohamed Bouaziz, one of the study's authors, and his colleagues say that when some oils are heated to certain temperatures they can change form and create new compounds that are potentially toxic to consume. These byproducts contribute to the reduction of the food's nutritional content.
Olive oil withstands high temps, maintaining its impeccable, healthy qualities, scientists say
"The researchers deep- and pan-fried raw potato pieces in four different refined oils -- olive, corn, soybean and sunflower -- and reused the oil 10 times.
"They found that olive oil was the most stable oil for deep-frying at 320 and 374 degrees Fahrenheit, while sunflower oil degraded the fastest when pan-fried at 356 degrees," stated the ACS press release.
"They conclude that for frying foods, olive oil maintains quality and nutrition better than seed oils." Olive oil is one of those ancient gems of a food that has been around for centuries, particularly in the Mediterranean.
The best type to use is "virgin" or "extra virgin" olive oil, as fewer chemicals have been used for extraction. The more chemicals involved in extracting the oil from olives, the more it loses its nutritional value, according to a Natural News report published last May on the oil's benefits.
"True virgin olive oil has an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory properties. Because it is derived directly from the fruit of the plant, it also helps with digestion."
Olive oil extremely useful in treating a variety of ailments, studies find
The health benefits don't stop there.
Oleocanthal, the phytonutrient in olive oil, actually mimics the effect of ibuprofen in that it reduces inflammation and can decrease women's risk of developing breast cancer and its recurrence, according to the Olive Oil Times.
Scientists are also studying other compounds found in the ancient oil including squalene and lignans, which could possibly help fight cancer. Olive oil is rumored to reduce the risk for heart disease, as it lowers the body's levels of total blood cholesterol. Regular consumption may decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, scientists say.
One "prominent cardiologist" recommends consuming up to two tablespoons a day to fully enjoy the oil's various benefits, reports the Olive Oil Times.
"Although the reasons are still not fully clear, recent studies have proved that people with diets containing high levels of olive oil are less likely to develop rheumatiod arthritis.
"A high consumption of olive oil appears to improve bone mineralization and calcification. It helps calcium absorption and so plays an important role in aiding sufferers and in preventing the onset of Osteoporosis."
Older individuals who consume olive oil daily are better protected against having a stroke, according to a recent study conducted in France and published in the online issue of Neurology. The "intensive" consumers of olive oil experienced 41 percent fewer strokes compared to those that didn't use the oil at all.