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Q: Cooking with olive oil ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Cooking with olive oil
Category: Health > Fitness and Nutrition
Asked by: llamamatic-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 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?
Answer  
Subject: Re: Cooking with olive oil
Answered By: emjay-ga on 29 Oct 2002 03:17 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
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
llamamatic-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Thanks for your fine answer, emjay.  Along with the helpful comments,
this is a valuable service and I will definitely use it again!

Comments  
Subject: Re: Cooking with olive oil
From: till-ga on 29 Oct 2002 04:52 PST
 
Let me add a peronal experience to emjay-gas 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: its wonderful.

till-ga
Subject: 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 177C/350F.
Others report olive oil starts smoking at 150C/300F. Andrews says he
deep-fries with extra virgin oil at 190C/375F 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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