Halal Consumer - Issue 28 - page 21

Another bonus is that olive oil does not have transfats
(TFA). TFAs are known to increase heart disease and dia-
betes risk. They are usually produced as part of industrial
hydrogenation processes, so the more refined the oil is, the
more likely it is to have TFAs.
Cooking with Olive Oil
Television chefs are often seen cooking with olive oil. Is
there any advantage in doing so?
“Olive oil should not be used for cooking or frying,” says
Najjar, “especially at high temperatures, which causes
nutrients in the oil to be lost.”
Cooking with olive oil beyond its smoke point (the point at
which a gaseous vapor becomes visible) causes its chemi-
cal structure to change. This process can produce the
unhealthy transfats.
Also, the purer the olive oil, the lower its smoke point. This
makes extra virgin olive oil the least beneficial for cooking.
Olive oil is thus best used in its raw form, in salads and
hummus, for example.
Green vs Black
Olives are usually classified as green or black. Color
aside, what’s the difference?
“Typically, the unripe olives are green and the ripe ones
are black,” says Najjar.
Canned olives, which have usually been cured or pick-
led, contain a great deal of sodium. The curing process
also removes much of the polyphenols in the fruit.
However, Najjar clarifies, “[After curing,] the green
ones are [still relatively] rich in polyphenols, the com-
ponent that has the maximum health benefits. But it is
the black olives that are best for harvesting olive oil.”
Disease Prevention and Treatment
Recent research has focused on the contribution the
various components of olive oil individually make to
its reported health benefits. These have been studied
in great detail and have been found to have a ben-
eficial effect in either the prevention or treatment of
a variety of diseases including hypertension; coro-
nary artery disease; rheumatoid arthritis; cancers of
the breast, colon, and skin; and even intestinal and
respiratory infections.
Other Uses
Apart from its culinary uses, olive oil has been traditionally
utilized in soap-making, as an oil lamp fuel, and in skin care.
Take Home Message for the Consumer
Follow the sunnah (way of the Prophet [PBUH]): this means
that, yes, olive oil is highly beneficial, but also keep in mind
moderation food consumption is another important sunnah.
If you are using unhealthy saturated fats in your diet, it
is better to replace them with olive oil, instead of simply
adding olive oil to your existing diet. If, however, your diet
contains PUFAs (e.g. canola oil), the benefit of adding or
replacing with olive oil is not that clear cut.
It is better to use olive oil in its raw form, for instance in sal-
ads and hummus. Cooking, especially at high heat, reduces
its heart-healthy and anti-oxidant properties and may also
lead to production of the unhealthy transfats.
Olive oil-containing soaps and skin care products, or even
the oil itself, can be used on the skin as a cleanser and
moisturizer, although there is conflicting evidence of its
benefits in skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis.
Research has focused on the effects of olive oil rather
than whole olives because it is easier to analyze, extract,
and administer individual compounds or fractions from the
oil. However, it seems safe to assume the benefits of olive
oil also apply to consumption of whole olives because the
therapeutic components of the oil are also found in the
whole olive.
Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 6
months. It can be refrigerated, in which case it will last up to
a year. After this time, its health benefits and taste both dra-
matically decrease. At the grocery store, look for dark glass
bottles (typically green) that protect the olive oil from light.
Know that the United States does not regulate the produc-
tion, quality, and authenticity of olive oil in the same strict
way as Europe does. However, the USDA has recently
lished new standards for labeling that closely parallel those
in Europe.
Spring 2014
1...,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20 22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,...40
Powered by FlippingBook