Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, that reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, according to Mayo Clinic. Studies show that MUFAs help stabilize insulin levels and control blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes.Continue Reading
The oleic acid in olive oil provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce pain and stiffness in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, reports Healthline. The phenolic compound in olive oil called oleocanthal offers anti-inflammatory benefits similar to ibuprofen, according to a 2011 paper published by the National Institutes of Health. The efficacy of the health-giving properties of phenols is severely compromised if olive oil is heated too high when cooking, notes WebMD. Extra-virgin olive oil is best used on cold dishes and recipes that don���t require heat due to its low smoke point. Virgin olive oil is well suited for low-temperature cooking because it offers a higher smoke point with better flavor.
The grades in olive oil indicate the extraction process and the acidity content of the pressed oil, explains WebMD. Extra-virgin olive oil contains 1 percent acid and is obtained from the first pressing of the olives using only pressure in a process known as cold pressing. It has a shelf life of 18 to 24 months. Virgin olive oil contains approximately 3 percent acid and also comes from the first pressing.Learn more about Nutritional Content