Articles on olive oil

Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is the Best Cooking Oil

Ms. Silky Mahajan, Dietitian/Nutritionist
With the new fad to eat fat-free foods and remain healthy, the intent is to completely avoid fat. However, it is to be noted that fat is essential for various normal body functions, starting from proper brain functioning to hormone formation. What needs to be avoided is the unhealthy bad fat. Fat contains fatty acids, which are of two types-saturated and unsaturated. When heated, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) react with the oxygen in the environment and get damaged. These are to be avoided. The saturated fatty acids are relatively strong and do not oxidize or create damage. So, the next time you pick up oils, this is what you need to look at.The good thing about olive oils is that it mostly contains mono-saturated fatty acids (MSFA), which does not oxidize even at high temperatures (almost 180 degree Celsius.) Another study showed that with deep frying using olive oil, it takes about 25 hours to produce the same damage as other cooking oils. Olive oil is produced by crushing olives.It can be refined or unrefined based on the amount of free oleic acid (lesser in the unrefined version.) The unrefined form is the purer form, which is also known as extra-virgin olive oil. It has the aroma and flavor of olives and characteristic bitter taste.What it contains: A can of 100 g of olive oil contains the following. Note the high content of mono-saturated fat is present, which is highly healthy.Monounsaturated Fat: About 70%Saturated fat:About 13%Omega-6:About 10%Omega-3:About 1%Vitamin E:72% of the RDA.Vitamin K:75% of the RDA.Some of the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil are listed below:Anti-inflammatory: Heart disease, cancers, diabetes, Alzheimer's are all chronic inflammatory conditions and using olive oil for prolonged periods can reduce the onset and severity of these conditions. The oleic acid acts against the C-reactive protein responsible for spreading inflammation.Antioxidants: The ingredients in olive oil including the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal and oleuropein are known for their antioxidant properties.The latter is what prevents oxidation of olive oil when heated. These have powerful health benefits and can help fight severe diseases.Cardio-friendly: There are various ways in which olive oil helps the heart, some of them being reduced inflammation, preventing blood clotting, lowering blood pressure, improving blood vessel lining, and improves LDL levels.Cancer: With its oxidative properties, it reduces the amount of free radicals in the body, thereby reducing cancer.Brain function: Olive oil also reduces cognitive functioning and reduces the formation of beta amyloid which is seen in Alzheimer's disease.The Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil and they have inherited these health benefits over centuries.

Do You Know Which Is the Healthiest Cooking Oil?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
What is it that makes a cooking oil healthy and whats in it that effects heart health?  Cooking oil has fat that has various health functions that makes it so important in our diets. Read along to understand different how different types of oil are healthy or healthy depending on their fat content. Cooking oils are healthy but need to be used in moderation for better health.We have always read that fat is not healthy for the body and often causes weight gain, heart diseases and increases cholesterol. Our body requires essential fatty acids for absorption of vitamins, better hormonal function, regulating blood sugar levels, storage of energy, controlling inflammation and brain development. Most importantly it adds flavor to the food. Fats are generally categorized as saturated fat and unsaturated fat. Saturated fat is difficult to break and is difficult to digest. It has high boiling point and freezing point. These fats are usually solid at room temperature and have a longer shelf life. Where as the other fat is unsaturated fat which is further divided into two categories of poly saturated fat and mono saturated fat. These fats are liquid at room temperature and have low boiling and freezing point with a shorter shelf life.Unsaturated fat is unhealthy for the body and increases cholesterol while the poly-saturated fats which contain the essential fatty acids improve cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol in the body. When unsaturated fat is hydrogenated it is called trans fat which increases the shelf life of products. The chips and commercial fried foods contain hydrogenated fats. Trans fats are not so healthy as they increase cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL which have severe effects on health.Cooking oils are either derived from  animal sources or plant sources. We have heard that certain oils are more beneficial and improve health when used for cooking whereas some oils are unhealthy. Deep fried foods are cooked in oils which have more  saturated fat as it has high boiling temperature which does not let the oil burn and bear its characteristics.Sometimes fats lose their characteristic upon boiling and don't remain healthy and develops qualities that may result in bad health.There are different oils present in the market like ghee, sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, olive oil, mustard oil, coconut oil, flax seed oil, sesame oil, rice oil etc of which some contain more of saturated fat and are not so healthy while some contain more of unsaturated oil which are healthy. You can consume about 30% of your daily calories requirement from fat through cooking oil. Here is a list of some of the healthier cooking oils available in the market.Below are some healthy cooking oil with their characteristicsMustard Oil: The oil is derived from pressing the mustard seeds. It contains very less of saturated fat and more of unsaturated fat. It contains omega 3 acid and omega 6 essential fatty acids about 12%. It is liquid at room temperature and is has its own characteristic smell and brown colour. In Indian cuisines it is used to cook stir fried veggies at low temperature as they add flavour to the food. The erucic acid present in it is controversial for its benefits. It is used for massaging at various places.Olive Oil: It is called the healthiest of all cooking oils and is present in different variants like extra virgin oil etc. The variants have different properties and used differently. Olive oil is primarily unsaturated fat and just 12% of saturated fat and improves heart health and increases good cholesterol. It has a lot of vitamins E & K with essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Extra virgin quality is used for skin, shaving oil but not used for cooking usually as it loses its characteristic upon heating.Peanut Oil: Peanut oil has a high smoke point and is often used for deep frying. The oil is healthy as it contains higher content of unsaturated fat and less of saturated fat making it  healthy and in fact improves coronary benefits. It is high in energy and has a long shelf life. It brings a aroma and flavor to the food it is cooked with.Sunflower Oil: It is one of the most common cooking oil used for cooking which we refer to as refine oil. It is high in unsaturated fat and is rich in essential fatty acids. It can be used in food for cooking on high temperature. It is often used in commercial products  and for deep frying of foods like french fries and chicken etc. It contains vitamin E & K as other nutrients in it. The plain taste makes it available to be used in various dishes.

How Olives Help You Lose Weight

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Did you know that olives can help you lose weight? Olives would be a good snack choice as they are rich in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. They are also low in calories and low on the Glycemic index.Though olives are said to be high in fat, the majority of the fat is heart-healthy mono-saturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Mono-saturated fats even prevent assimilation of unhealthy fats. They are a poor source of sugar which means that they can provide you with constant and lasting energy without increasing your blood sugar levels. The phytonutrients found in olives have been linked to cancer prevention and also help prevent bone loss.Olives possess positive health benefits and also help you lose weight. According to studies in Italy, if you consume 10 olives before any meal, then your appetite will reduce by 22%, as the monounsaturated fatty acids present in them send a satiety signal to the brain. Also, these fatty acids stimulate the production of adiponectin, a chemical that burns fat for 5 hours after ingestion.Snack on 5 or 10 green or black olives, as they contain only 12 calories per olive. 28 gm of green olives contain about 41 calories, 4 gm of fat, 1 gm of carbohydrates and 1 gm of fiber.Note: Avoid pickled, canned or bottled olives as they are high in calories and sodium content. High sodium content causes water retention as it may lead to bloating.

6 Natural Ways to Get Beautiful Hands

Dr. Shilpa Sharma, Homeopath
Hands are the most used parts of our body but when it comes to care they are the last ones to receive it. So here are some tips to keep them happy, beautiful, young and healthy forever: 1. Olive oil: Massage your hands with some warm olive oil for 5 to 10 minutes twice daily to enjoy soft and smooth hands. Olive oil has anti - ageing effects also. 2. Oatmeal: It is a natural cleanser and an exfoliater. Also its protein content locks the skin moisture inside keeping them soft. Prepare a mixture with 2 tablespoons of ground oatmeal, ½ to 1 teaspoon of honey and a little water to make a paste. You can also add a little freshly squeezed lemon juice. Rub this mixture on your hands. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. 3. Coconut oil: It is not only good for dry skin but also soothes the skin damaged by UV rays. Apply warm extra-virgin coconut oil on your hands. Massage for about 5 minutes using circular motions before going to bed everyday. 4. Milk cream: A natural moisturizer, an exfoliater and the skin ph maintainer. So rub some fresh milk cream on your hands. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off your hands thoroughly with lukewarm water. You can use this remedy daily. 5. Honey: An antioxidant with anti ageing effects. Mix equal amounts of honey and glycerin. Apply it on your hands, wait 10 minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this once daily. 6. Lemon juice: Its a cleanser and lightens any spots on skin. Add the juice of 1 lemon and some honey to a small tub filled with lukewarm water. Soak your hands in it for about 10 minutes. Pat dry, then apply a little bit of vitamin E oil or olive oil to maintain the moisture level of your skin. Use this remedy few times a week.

Health Benefit of Olive Oil

Ms. Ashu Gupta, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Depression risk and olive oilPeople whose diets are high in trans fats - fast foods and mass-produced foods like pastries - may have a higher risk ofdepression, compared with those whose diets are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats.The investigators counted the number of people with depression at the start of the study and then again during each follow-up. Cases of depression had to be those clinically diagnosed by a doctor.The study authors found that when they compared the volunteers who consumed trans fats regularly with individuals whose dietary fat consisted primarily of olive oil, the trans fat consumers had a 48% higher risk of developing depression.The amount of trans fat consumed was directly related to depression risk - the more they ate, the higher the risk.Olive oil may reduce breast cancer riskA team of scientists at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain found a key mechanism by which virgin olive oil protects the body against breast cancer, in contrast to other vegetable oils.The researchers decoded a complete cascade of signals within the cells of breast tumors that are activated by virgin olive oil. They concluded that the oil reduces the activity of p21Ras, an oncogene, prevents DNA damage, encourages tumor cell death, and triggers changes in protein signaling pathways.The team found that while corn oil - which is rich in n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids - increased the aggressiveness of tumors, virgin olive oil had the opposite effect.They demonstrated that virgin olive oil is linked to a higher incidence of benign (non-cancerous) breast tumors.

Olive Oil, Pure Ghee, Butter, Mustard Oil or Any Other Seed Oil ?

Neelam Nath
A good oil is as important to our body as a good oil for our cars,everytime we take our cars for servicing , the oil is changed with a new filter. Our body filter is our Kidneys & they cannot be changed but we have a variety of choice about oils which are good for health, unlike our cars.       Olive oil is used in Mediterranean cooking and it has become popular for its properties as a protective for heart disease.It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids.It is rich source of Vitamin K ( blood clotting Vitamin) and Vitamin E ( anti inflammation Vitamin), 2 main reasons for a Heart Attack- clotting and inflammation within blood vessels.Olive oil has high smoking point 410 F or 210 C, means it takes time to heat up for frying.Routine oils should not be used twice for frying, once frying is done, the oils emit toxic products if reheated and this food fried in reheated routine oils is toxic to health.Digestibility is not affected if reheated Olive oil is used.Fumes of reheated Olive oil have less alhydrates which cause adverse health effects.Cost of olive oil sold in India is high and Purity of oil sold at high price is Suspect.No Oil is Zero cholesterol as advertised on TV.My neighborhood lady,age 80+ , slightly obese is busy doing gardening ,and I can see the jars of Mango pickle made by her using Mustard Oil ,while I am writing about Olive Oil and its benefits. She has finished her routine morning chores, she is less dependant on helpers & her lunch will be roti & saag loaded with Desi Ghee . Whenever her limbs ache a bit at end of the day, she rubs Til oil on her joints ( Seasame oil). She has been using above oils for years, has normal BP & does not suffer from age related problems compared to her peers.Did I interpret it as Old is Gold.Yes , you got it right. In Rome do as Romans do and in Delhi/ Punjab do as Punjabis have been doing since the time I remember for past 60 + years.

A Complete Solution for Hair Fall by Ayurveda

Rekha Kumar Naidu
Although hair fall is considered as a common problem, it is one of the complex problem. Hair fall has to be dealt from the roots; understanding the root cause.In some cases modifying your daily diet and lifestyle helps to put an end to hair loss.                     DIET RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HAIR LOSS  Aloe Vera - Positive results can be seen by consuming aloe vera juice with 1/2 spoon of cumin powder 2 times a day for 3 months.Yogurt - contains lots at good bacteria , zinc and minerals. Consuming it daily in the afternoons can reduce hair fall.Curry Leaves & Green Leaves Vegetables - Include curry leaves and green leafy vegetables in your daily diet. They are rich in fiber Nuts - Include nuts and dry fruits like dates, almonds, pistachios. A few pieces of nuts daily can be very helpful in hair and skincareLemon & Oranges - Vitamin C helps in iron absorption thereby strengthening the hair follicles preventing hair loss. Including them regularly in your diet helps in detoxification bringing glow to hair and skinProper sleep, Adequate water intake, balanced diet including fresh and bright coloured fruits and vegetables is essential to prevent all disorders including hair lossAYURVEDA HAIR REMEDIES1. Hair packs for shiny hair 10 Hibiscus flowers (petals only)½ tablespoon of finely powdered fenugreek ½ to 1liter of waterSoak all the ingredients in water overnight Morning crush with hand and filter the content. Apply it on hair and soak for 20 min Wash with plain cold water thoroughly  2. Hair pack for Dandruff and Hairfall1 cup yogur1 eggP1 lemon Mix the above to make a pastApply in hair for 20 mins and cover with shower cap. Wash hair with warm water and a mild herbal shampoo.GENERAL IDEAS TO PREVENT AND CARE HAIR FALLMassage hair with a mixture of coconut oil (4 tablespoon ) + sesame oil (2 tablespoon ) + castor oil (½ tablespoon) Massaging hair with olive oil or Vitamin E oil is also helpfulApplying freshly grinded   Bhringaraja paste (karesalakanni) on hair delays the process of greying hairApplying the juice of Indian goose beery (Amla) on the scalp with a mild massage can help in reducing hair fall and dandruffRubbing small onion on bald head can promote hair growth .  

6 Surprising Beauty Hacks Using Coconut Oil

Dr. Amee Daxini, Dermatologist
We unintentionally end up using expensive and dangerous body care products to do the beauty trick for us. But here’s a little inside information -- your humble coconut oil is a multi-tasker that can take care of almost anything.Look after those locks:Use coconut oil instead of serum to tame your hair, since the latter causes extensive hair fall. Warm a little oil in your hands and run your fingers through your hair. For deep conditioning minus those chemicals, leave the oil in your hair all day.Mascara massacre:You no longer have to worry about chemicals from artificial makeup removers getting into your eyes and damaging the delicate, thin skin around your eyes. Remove that stubborn eye makeup gently using small quantities of coconut oil using a cotton pad.Under those arms:Bid goodbye to underarm darkness caused by chemicals in your deodorant spray. Instead, use coconut oil as it contains lauric acid which kills odor-causing bacteria. Dab small quantities under your arms and stay fresh all day long.Raisin skin:Artificial anti-aging creams use a lot of chemicals that cause more damage than good. Coconut oil, on the other hand, has been praised for its natural anti-aging properties. It speeds up collagen production and makes your skin look supple and youthful. Apply it as an eye cream to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and to keep skin smooth.Chappy lips:When lip balms or gels are applied, there is a possibility of accidentally consuming it. The toxic chemicals from these products cause stomach aches and indigestion, among other side-effects. Coconut oil gives you an ideal alternative; even if consumed, it won’t harm your system. Now isn’t that a win-win situation!On the inside:Coconut oil contains saturated fats or medium chain fatty acids (triglycerides) which have strong disinfectant and anti-microbial properties. When consumed in your diet, it has the ability to boost your immunity and increase energy levels. No wonder Malayalis cook with this essential oil!

Eating for Healthier Skin

Dr. Margaret Plaza-Corcoran, Dermatologist
There's truth in what others' say, "You are what you eat." Though other factors such as genes and hygiene count a lot towards having great skin, your diet contributes significantly as well. Here are some of the foods that make your skin look and feel healthier:1. Flax seeds and walnuts are the top sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You may be hearing about Omega-3, but what do they do to your skin? Omega-3's hydrate your skin and puff out those fine lines. Their anti-inflammatory properties will also help diminish your skin's redness and any signs of irritation. One-quarter cup of flax seeds contains about 7 grams of omega-3 fatty acids while one-quarter cup of walnuts contains about 2.3 grams. The RDA of omega-3 fatty acids is 4 grams, so you can see that in either case the amount is very substantial.Don't like flax seeds and walnuts? Not to worry. There are many other sources of omega-3's. There's fish, chia seeds, egg yolks, winter squash and olive oil. In the case of fish, you'll get about 2 grams from every 4 ounces of salmon, 0.6 grams from the same serving of halibut, and 0.4 grams from tuna. A cup of this winter squash will give you approximately 0.3 grams. For extra virgin olive oil, each ounce is about 0.2 grams of omega-3's (one thing about using extra virgin olive oil - don't fry with it as you'll damage the omega 3s).2. Do you have oily skin? Have a big salad full of leafy greens - they're high in vitamin A, which will help diminish oil production. Squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, egg yolks and milk are among the other tasty treats that are rich in vitamin A. (Coffee and alcohol, on the other hand, can deplete your supply of this essential vitamin.)3. Oranges, strawberries, raisins, prunes, red grapes, plums, blueberries, spinach and kale are very rich in anti-oxidants. The benefits of these foods for healthy skin are plentiful. Free radicals that are formed in our body usually from sun exposure and other elements such as smoke and pollution damage the membrane of skin cells, potentially allowing damage to the DNA of that cell. The antioxidants and other phytochemicals in these fruits can protect the cell. By protecting the cells from damage these antioxidants can help prevent premature aging. In this way, these fruits may very well help keep your skin younger-looking. Other good sources of antioxidants are green tea, artichokes, beans (black, red, and pinto), prunes, and pecans.4. Finally drinking plenty of water will help keep your skin young and healthy-looking. Water in caffeinated or sugary beverages does not count; water intake must be from pure, clean water, which rejuvenates skin cells. Water both hydrates cells and helps them move toxins out and nutrients in. How much water you need to drink depends on your weight and activity level. A better way to determine the amount of water you should drink in ounces is to divide your weight in pounds in 2. For example if you weigh 150 pounds, divide it by 2, and it will give you 75 ounces.Wishing you a great and healthy skin.