Hey everybody,

Welcome to this edition of Whatever Wednesdays.  Today, I'm going to discuss olive oil.  This is one oil that many people use because it's regarded as one of the healthier choices to use in cooking or to drizzle on your salad.  I did some digging and dissecting to bring you some factoids on the oil of the olive!  Let's take a look.


Olive Oil is an oil obtained from the olive, a traditional tree crop hailing from the Mediterranean Basin.  Over 750 million olive trees are cultivated worldwide, 95% coming from the Mediterranean region. Spain is the top producer of olive oil in the world.  Olive oil is made by grinding olives and extracting the oil by mechanical or chemical means.

There are many different types of Olive Oil and many use the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in cooking.  Below are some of the most widely used varities:

Extra-virgin olive oil is from virgin oil production only, has no more than 0.8% acidity, and is regarded as having a superior taste. It is used on salads, added to soups and stews and for dipping.

Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has less than 2% acidity, and is said to have a good taste.

Pure olive oil or Olive oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil.

Olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined production oil with no more than 1.5% acidity. It is known to lack a strong flavor.

Olive pomace oil is refined pomace olive oil often blended with some virgin oil. It is suitable for consumption, but cannot be described simply as olive oil. It has a more neutral flavor than pure or virgin olive oil. It has the same fat composition as regular olive oil, producting the same health benefits. Additionally it has a high smoke point, so it is widely used in restauraunts as well as home cooking in some countries.
Below are some additional tidbits about olive oil:
"100% Pure Olive Oil" is often the lowest quality available in a retail store, a better grade has "virgin" on the label.
"Made from refined olive oils" suggests that the taste and acidity were chemically controlled.
"From hand-picked olives" means the oil has a higher quality, since those that harvest the olives by mechanical methods are inclined to leave olives to over-ripen to increase yield.
Cold pressed means that the oil was not heated over a certain temperature during processing, which helps  retain more nutrients and undergoes less degradation.
Some health benefits include:
Olive oil has a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection agains heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels.
Olive oil is also very well tolerated by the stomach. Olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescription drugs.  Consequently, it lowers the risk of the formation of gallstones.
I bet you didn't realize there was so much to olive oil huh?  Please be aware that there is SO much more!  I only scratched the surface of all the information out there.  There are many that say that no type of oil is good for you to consume.  Remember, this is just one side of the coin.  You must always seek out further information for yourself and do what feels right to you. 
SOURCES: healing daily.com, wikipedia.org