Nutritionist Ishi Khosla talks about the benefits of Olive Oil
It has been scientifically proven that a diet rich in olive oil reduces the incidence of cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and cancer. Nutritionist, Ishi Khosla talks to us about the innumerous benefits of using olive oil in our daily diet.
Besides being an excellent condiment to enhance the flavor of foods, olive oil is a complete food and essential for keeping your body in shape at any age. It is rich in antioxidants and beneficial substances, it has a high nutritional value and helps prevent many diseases, increasing life expectancy. Olive oil, the quintessential part of the Mediterranean diet, is slowly but surely finding its place in Indian kitchens. Clinical Nutritionist, Ishi Khosla who was in Bangalore recently at the Oliveitup campaign to promote olive oil, explained the nutritional aspects of olive oil and its importance in a healthy and balanced diet. Ishi Khosla writes extensively for various editorials and has authored two books –‘The Cholesterol Facts’ and ‘Is Wheat Killing You?’ published by Penguin and the third book ‘Diet Matters’, also with Penguin publishers is on its way.
Talking about the benefits of olive oil, she says “It is high time, Indians start taking their health concerns more seriously. The country is sitting on a health time bomb and is now number one in cardiac patients with over 10% population affected; 31% of urban Indians are either overweight or obese and over 100 million people in India have high blood pressure. Clearly there is something drastically wrong between what we eat and how we live. Incorporating olive oil in our cuisines will be a perfect start.”
She adds “All healthy properties are particularly enhanced in the Extra Virgin Olive oil, the highest category of quality in the family of olive oils. The American nutritionist Ancel Keys, who died at age 101, with his studies showed that the Mediterranean area had a lower prevalence of these diseases thanks to Extra Virgin Olive Oil. People should start using Olive Oil in traditional and daily cuisine and as it helps in preventing cardiovascular diseases and obesity, reducing the risk of cancer and improves the overall health.”
She also says that olive oil is very resistant to heat and is suitable for use in Indian cooking. "Most of us tend to think that you can't use olive oil when you are making Indian delicacies but it's not true. The main feature of the oil in cooking is to transfer heat to food in stages. For this slow cooking over low heat is the best way to enhance its characteristics. Olive oil during cooking plays as an antioxidant, an injection of aromas and create new flavors and aromas."
A diet rich in olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, may increase life expectancy because:
1. It can strengthen the immune system
2. It may have an anti-inflammatory effect
3. It can prevent cardiovascular diseases
4. It reduces cholesterol levels
5. It decreases the formation of free radicals and cellular aging correlated infarction
6. It reduces the risk of thrombosis and atherosclerosis
7. It can lower blood pressure
8. It may reduce the incidence of some cancers
9. It can improve the operating capacity of the pancreas
10. It can have a positive impact on the emergence of diabetes
Varieties of Olive oil
1) Extra virgin is extracted from freshly picked olives mechanically, under controlled temperatures and without any chemical treatment, and retains large proportion of good fats, vitamins and anti-oxidants.
2) It is also low in acid, resulting in a fruity flavor and aroma, so you don’t need to use as much to enjoy the flavor. The light green colour is because of the presence of chlorophyll.
3) Pomace, it’s a refined version of olive oil, which does not provide the same benefits as the traditional cold pressed oils.
4) Olive oil has great viscosity and flavour and hence less is needed to enhance the natural taste of any dish.
Myths about Olive oil
1) Olive oil doesn’t lend itself well to Indian Food
2) Extra Virgin cannot be used for cooking
Some facts about Olive oil
1) Olive oil is versatile, healthy and suitable equally for raw use in salads, dressings, stir frying and regular cooking.
2) Olive oil - high biological and nutritional value, resulting in good human health.