Cooking with olive oil
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: llamamatic-ga
List Price: $5.00
29 Oct 2002 02:35 PST
Expires: 28 Nov 2002 02:35 PST
Question ID: 91860
What are the advantages and disadvantages of cooking and eating with olive oil?
Re: Cooking with olive oil
Answered By: emjay-ga on 29 Oct 2002 03:17 PST
Dear llamamatic, Thanks for your question! Olive oil has long been used in cooking for its distinctive flavor, and doctors say we do our hearts a favor by choosing olive oil over other cooking oils. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which unlike saturated fats, are actually good for you -- experts believe they may help to lower cholesterol (note that all cooking oils are cholesterol-free, as they're plant-derived). To help put things into perpective, olive oil contains 72% monounsaturated fats, while corn oils contain just 24%. Both oils have nearly identical saturated fat content and calorie content. Many people find olive oil more flavorful, however, and since it doesn't need to be processed after extraction from the olive, its antioxidant qualities are retained. While any oils are fine in moderation, if you're concerned with your cholesterol, olive oil may be the better choice. Its major drawback is price -- you'll pay more for a good quality olive oil, but depending on your health concerns, you may feel it's worth the extra. Some people find the flavor of regular olive oil a little overbearing in some recipes -- in this case, choose a "light" olive oil. "Light" doesn't indicate that it's lower in calories or fat, but that it has a lighter color and flavor. Note that olive oil isn't recommended for cooking at high temperatures, as it has a lower "smoke point" than other oils like peanut and canola. Sources: Food Network: Olive Oil <http://www.foodtv.com/terms/tt-r2/0,4474,4171,00.html> Go Ask Alice!: Difference Between Corn Oil and Olive Oil <http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/0768.html> The Olive Oil Source <www.oliveoilsource.com> I used the following keywords in my search: olive oil advantages disadvantages olive oil benefits drawbacks cooking with olive oil Happy eating! Emjay-ga
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Thanks for your fine answer, emjay. Along with the helpful comments, this is a valuable service and I will definitely use it again!
Re: Cooking with olive oil
From: till-ga on 29 Oct 2002 04:52 PST
Let me add a peronal experience to emjay-ga´s very good answer. I use to cook a lot with olive oil - it brings italian, greek or spanish flavour to salads. In some cases I mix ordinary oil and olive oil 1:1 because in some salads the taste of the olive oil can be to dominant. Have a try: it´s wonderful. till-ga
Re: Cooking with olive oil
From: huel-ga on 29 Oct 2002 06:53 PST
There is a lot of evidence that olive oil is good for you and the best olive oils are extra-virgin, cold-pressed ones. This means the oil is from the first pressing of the olives, and is extracted without heat, thus preserving the highest amount of antioxidants, vitamins, etc - basically the healthy stuff is kept as intact as possible! Generally it's said you should use top-grade extra-virgin olive oil for dressings, dips etc, and NOT cook with them. However this is more about taste and expense than health - these oils are usually very rich and pungent and you can appreciate the flavour of them better cold. Also, the price puts many people off using them for deep-frying, when you need to use large amounts of oil. There have been worries that frying with olive oil (or indeed any oil) could have health risks. The worry is that burning or smoking oil releases toxins which may be potentially cancerous. However this really only occurs if you repeatedly cook with the same oil at very high temperatures. And olive oil has been shown to retain more anti-oxidants (good) and produce less free radicals (bad) when heated. So if you're going to fry you should probably use an extra-virgin olive oil (but a light-coloured, cheaper one) rather than another cooking oil. It's been said that olive oil has a low burning/smokiing temperature which may have inspired worries about using it for cooking/frying. This may be true of low-grade olive oil, but not usually of extra virgin. Coleman Andrews, in his book Catalan Cuisine (he claims the cheapest, best olive oils come from Catalunya, Spain, particularly those made from the Arbequina olive) recommends using a mild (not dark green, pungent one) EXTRA-VIRGIN oil. He says it doesn't burn or smoke as easily as lower-grade oils. He quotes research saying that good oil retains flavour and nutritional value up to temps of 177ºC/350ºF. Others report olive oil starts smoking at 150ºC/300ºF. Andrews says he deep-fries with extra virgin oil at 190ºC/375ºF without problems. He also advises stirring very hot oil with a wooden spoon to avoid hot spots at the bottom of the pan which may release toxins. for everything olive-related, including health issues, go to the excellent www.oliveoilsource.com
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