It’s well known that extra virgin olive oil is one of the most popular types of oil in Malaysia. When it comes to adding that little extra flavour to just about any type of food, extra virgin olive oil is one of the best choices. Other than making your food more delicious, extra virgin olive oil also is well-known for its myriad health benefits.

All olive oil is produced from the fruit of the humble olive tree. However, a quick trip to the grocery store and you can see that there are different classifications of olive oil. These are usually pure olive oil, light olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality of olive oil you can find. It is also the olive oil that comes with the most health benefits. It has so many health benefits that some health professionals recommend that you take at least three spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil every day. These health benefits include:

Olive Oil is Rich in ‘Good Fats’

Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats. This ‘good fats’ helps to lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol (which is the good kind of cholesterol, in case you haven’t guessed).

Helps with Diabetes

This lower level of saturated fat in extra virgin olive oil also helps with people suffering from diabetes as regularly consuming olive oil can reduce the chances of developing insulin resistance.

Relieves Pain & Inflammation

Are you suffering from chronic pain and inflammation? Consider adding more extra virgin olive oil into your diet. It contains compounds that is said to be similar to the pain-relieving action of ibuprofen, the popular pain drug.

Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

Extra virgin olive oil is derived from the first pressing of olives. As such, they contain the highest levels of antioxidants which will help increase your good HDL cholesterol and reduce the bad LDL cholesterol. You won’t get the same benefits from ordinary olive and vegetable oils as all the antioxidants are reduced or removed during the refining process.

Healthier than Butter

If you’re trying to find a way to reduce the butter in your cooking but still maintain the great flavours, consider replacing it with extra virgin olive oil instead. You will discover that a tablespoon of butter contains 7.2 grams of saturated fat (the bad fat), but the same amount of extra virgin olive oil only contains 1.8 grams of saturated fat.

Safest for Cooking

In a very recent research (2018), Australian scientists have discovered that extra virgin olive oil was the safest and most stable compared to other types of cooking oil, even at high temperatures. Previously, people believed that extra virgin olive oil should only be used for salad dressings. This research has debunked that claim.

The researchers compared extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, refined olive oil, canola, grapeseed, coconut, avocado, peanut, rice bran and sunflower oils. They found that extra virgin olive oil produced the lowest quantity of polar compounds. These polar compounds are harmful and contribute to the development of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Extra virgin olive oil produced the least amount of these polar compounds.

The most unhealthy type of cooking oil? Canola oil. It produced 2.5 times more than extra virgin olive oil.