Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Introduction 

In the present world, where everyone desires to live a healthy and long life, olive oil has become very popular. If you’ve been reading cookbooks, you must have realized many authors are more inclined towards extra virgin olive oil, also known as EVOO. Now you are wondering what makes EVOO so unique? What about the regular olive oil?

Well, you’re in the right place. Here you’ll learn about the benefits of EVOO and the benefits of regular olive oil. You’ll also get to know the difference between the two. Read on to learn more and be in a position to make an informed choice about which one is right for the purpose you intend to use it for.

Olive oil and olives, Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - The Proud Italian

What are the benefits of EVOO?

Before looking at the benefits, it is essential to understand what EVOO is. EVOO is unrefined and is obtained directly from olives through mechanical processes. It is usually more costly and is packaged with healthy antioxidants. An example is the popular Italian Lucini Olive Oil. As mentioned earlier, many people prefer EVOO oil because of its numerous benefits. 

However, it would help if you used the oil as recommended to get the benefits, which include:

  • It lowers the risk of cardiovascular problems. Studies have revealed that EVOO has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce chronic inflammation, a risk factor for several cardiovascular diseases. 
  • It helps to improve problems with insulin secretion and blood sugar levels. If taken correctly, EVOO can help individuals with Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG). These are individuals whose blood sugar levels are often too high even if they have not eaten any food. A study discovered that individuals with IFG who took their usual meals with less than one tablespoon of EVOO had reduced their sugar levels significantly.
  • Evoo provides anti-inflammatory benefits. When you taste top quality EVOO, you’ll experience a burning or tingling sensation. This experience is because of a specific chemical compound found in the extra virgin oil called oleocanthal. These chemical compounds have anti-inflammatory properties, making EVOO oil have similar effects to fever reducers and pain-killers. Studies have shown that it can also prevent Alzheimer’s disease and destroy cancer cells.  
Olive oil on olive berry, Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - The Proud Italian
  • It’s good for skin and hair health. EVOO is rich in Vitamin E, with each teaspoon comprising about 1.9mg of Vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble antioxidant that has the capability of protecting your body against eye and skin problems.
  • It helps in weight loss. Even though EVOO has high calories, studies have revealed that it can help reduce obesity. Medical experts affirm that it is hard to gain weight from the mono-saturated fats contained in EVOO oil. Experiments conducted have confirmed that extra virgin olive oil plays a role in weight reduction.

The Benefits of Olive Oil

Different olive oil brands are used for various purposes, meaning not all olive oil is the same. What makes the difference is how the olive oil is made. Different processes yield different qualities of olive oil. For instance, pure olive oil is of lower quality than virgin olive oil. 

Row of fresh olive oil in bottles, Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - The Proud Italian

However, as seen in the Mediterranean; people have been found to live longer and suffer less from heart diseases, olive oil has many health benefits. Here are some of the advantages:

  • You’ll have a healthy heart. Olive oil contains plenty of polyphenols-(naturally occurring organic compounds) that help relax and dilate arteries(make them wider) hence reducing high blood pressure. It also helps to significantly reduce the chances of suffering from stroke and heart diseases.
  • It contains a lot of healthy monounsaturated fats. Plain olive oil is a natural oil extracted from olives which comprise approximately 14% saturated fat (saturated fat has a high proportion of fatty acids) and 11% polyunsaturated(healthy fats found in plant and animal foods). However, the primary fatty acid in olive oil is monounsaturated (healthy dietary fats found in plants and animals; it is usually liquid at room temperature)  fat called oleic acid. According to research, oleic acid reduces inflammation and helps protect your body against cancer.
  • It decreases the risk of depression. Studies have suggested that olive oil plays a significant role in reducing the risk of depression. The oil boosts the level of two critical chemicals that help brain cells to grow and self-repair. The two chemicals are the nerve growth factor and the brain-derived neurotrophic factor. The research also revealed that olives and olive oil could help boost memory and cognitive function among the elderly.
Extra virgin olive oil in jar with olive berries, Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - The Proud Italian
  • It does not cause obesity. Usually, consuming too much fat is associated with weight gain. However, studies have revealed that taking food rich in olive oil has favorable effects on body weight. The studies further showed that olive oil increases antioxidants’ blood levels and helps in weight loss.
  • It reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. More than one researcher has concluded that olive oil protects your body from type 2 diabetes. The studies revealed that olive oil has positive effects on your blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.

What are the Differences Between Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Many people get confused with the terms olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. However, those that know how to make olive oil could quickly tell the difference. Why is it important to know the difference, you may ask. Such knowledge would help you to determine the best olive oil for cooking. Below are the critical differences between EVOO oil and olive oil:

The key difference between the two is that EVOO oil is made from pure, cold-pressed olives, while regular olive oil is a mix that comprises cold-pressed and processed oils. EVOO is usually more expensive because the preparation process is thorough and lengthy.  

Extra virgin olive oil with olive berries, Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - The Proud Italian

The cold-pressed oil that does not meet the standard required for EVOO is usually refined to remove unwanted impurities. This refining process gives the resulting oil a more neutral flavor and makes it lighter in color. It is then mixed with a little top-rated EVOO to produce olive oil.

The differences between the two also make one suitable for cooking while the other is better used in uncooked applications. You can use plain olive oil for cooking and sautéing. On the other hand, the top-shelf EVOO oil is best used for dressings, dips, and finishing touches on plated food.

Summary

Now that you’ve learned the difference between EVOO and olive oil, you’re ready to try that recipe. As you visit your local store, look for organic olive oil grown devoid of harmful substances. Furthermore, you now know about olives’ calories and the benefits of using both EVOO- and plain olive oil. With this knowledge, welcome to the world of healthy living!