Olive oil is a type of oil that is extracted from the fruit of the olive tree. It is one of the oldest and most widely used cooking oils in the world, particularly in the Mediterranean area. Olive oil is produced by pressing whole olives and comes in various grades, including extra virgin, virgin, pure, and light. Extra virgin olive oil is considered to be the highest quality and is extracted through a meticulous process that includes solely mechanical methods without the use of powerful petrochemical solvents or excessive heat. It has a rich, fruity taste and a characteristic vibrant green color.
One of the remarkable characteristics of olive oil is its high content of monounsaturated fats, which are considered beneficial for heart health. Olive oil is also a potent source of antioxidant biophenols, such as vitamin E and polyphenols, which help in strengthening and balancing the immune system from free radicals along with reducing inflammation. In addition, olive biophenols can help in repairing skin damage due to sun burn and UV rays. Nutrition experts tout olive oil as a health-conscious component of a balanced meal.
In terms of culinary uses, olive oil is a staple ingredient in the Mediterranean cuisine and is valued for its ability to enhance the flavors of various dishes. Its robust flavor makes it perfect for salad dressings, marinades, and drizzling over grilled vegetables or bread. It can also be used for sautéing, roasting, and baking, adding a delightful richness to the food. It should be noted that for thousands of years, the people of the Mediterranean basin have consumed olive oil as the main source of dietary fat.
Beyond its culinary applications, olive oil and extracts of olive leafs has been used for centuries in skincare and haircare routines due to its moisturizing and nourishing properties. It is often used for the production of beauty products, such as moisturizers, soaps or shampoos.
When choosing olive oil, it is important to consider its quality and authenticity. Consumers should look for reputable brands and labels that indicate the oil’s origin and extraction method. In fact, this product has set out on a path of progressive differentiation based both on the quality and on main credence attributes such as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), local production and organic certification.