Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil Better for Frying Fish

Frying as a method of cooking is not the healthiest option. Firstly, the method of frying matters. When deep frying, the whole food is immersed in oil and fat. When shallow-frying, there is no complete immersion so this is the healthier option. Secondly, thecooking oil you use will not only affect the taste of your food, but more importantly, it may be unhealthy for your body.

Extra-virgin olive oil or EVOO is the healthier option. Even when frying fish, the component in EVOO affects the fats in the fish.

The Fishy Details

Experts conducted a study using two kinds of cooking oil – sunflower oil and EVOO.

In the first test, no food was used, but the oils were fried.

In the second test, fish fillets of gilthead sea bream and European sea bass were fried using a microwave and a pan to hold the fish. Oil temperature was at 340 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fillets were cooked for 2 ½ minutes on each side. After this process, lipids or fats were extracted from the fish cooked in sunflower oil and in EVOO.

It can be concluded then that fish lipids or fish fats have migrated across or transferred to the fried oils. Results showed that using EVOO, the oil was richer in saturated fats and omega 3 after frying.

On the flip side, character of the oil also transferred to the fish during cooking. After the process, fish had more oleic polyphenols after being cooked in EVOO.

In the experiment, it was concluded that sunflower oil easily oxidizes and degrades compared to EVOO. In short, overall, EVOO is more stable than sunflower oil when used to fry fish.

The oil you use greatly affects the fish being cooked. It can be toxic compounds that are generated when frying, but with EVOO, you are safe from this fear. EVOO is definitely the healthier option.

Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil and health

Research shows that cancer and other chronic diseases can be prevented or avoided if you strictly adhere to the Mediterranean diet.

What do you think is in Mediterranean diet that makes it so healthy? Loads of olive oil. The purer it is, the healthier it is. So if you are talking olive oil, choose the extra-virgin olive oil, its purest form called the ‘liquid gold’.

What’s in the oil?

Healthy fats. All our lives we were told not to eat fats like oil and butter because it can clog the heart and well, fatten the stomachs and hips. Well this time, there is actual research that shows that the good kind of fats is good.

Monounsaturated Fats or MUFA make up olive oil. This kind of fat is good for the heart. It lowers bad cholesterol or LDL, which when left untreated, clogs the arteries. This results to stroke and other heart diseases.

Oil vs. diseases

Studies show that if you take as much olive oil as you can, it can lower your risk of having heart or cardiovascular diseases. Also cancer and diabetes.

Aside from regulating the bad cholesterol, olive oil also prevents blood clots that cause heart attack and stroke.

Olive oil is full of anti-oxidants that fight off cancer cells.

MUFA also controls insulin and blood sugar levels, lowering the risk for type 2 diabetes, which is the more common type of diabetes. It means your body is insulin-resistant, or does not process insulin properly.  If left untreated, you would need to have insulin shots to sustain body functions.

Mediterranean recipes

Aside from olive oil, there are a few more staples in the Mediterranean cuisine that are also healthy:

  • Garlic is good for the immune system;
  • Chili, whether fresh or dried, has anti-oxidants;
  • Honey has anti-microbial properties, and also sweetens food naturally;
  • Lemon juice is good source of vitamin C.

When you combine these other ingredients with olive oil, then you really are for a healthy treat.

7 health benefits of using olive oil for our recipes

Matera in Southern Italy produces one of the best, if not the best and purest extra-virgin olive oil in the world. Its hills are abundant with the round and fleshy olive fruits that are gently picked and cold-pressed within 24 hours to control acidity level.

The Character of Olive Oil

Olive oil comes from countries like Spain and Italy, found in the Mediterranean region. It is usually used in cooking, as a salad dressing, and also in cosmetics, soaps and pharmaceuticals. It also has religious significance in some religions.

Olive oil comes in different varieties as olives come in variety. They can vary in terms of flavor, texture and shelf life. Olive oil is classified according to its purity. The highest and purest form is the extra-virgin olive oil, which means it has not gone through chemical treatment. Other classifications are Virgin Oil, Ordinary Virgin Oil and Lampante Virgin Oil.

The Health benefits of olive oil

Because of its purity, olive oil is good for the health.

  1. It is healthy food for the heart

The fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fat (MUFA), which can lower cholesterol level, particularly the bad cholesterol LDL. When the bad cholesterol is lowered, your arteries are not clogged and you are not at risk for strokes or heart diseases. Olive oil also normalizes blood clots. Instead of using butter or other kinds of oil, replace it with olive oil instead.

  1. It is full of anti-oxidants to fight off cancer

Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant, and lowers the growth of free radicals in the body, which can cause damages on healthy cells. In the long run, it can damage blood vessels and DNA, and can lead to cancer.

  1. It regulates blood pressure, preventing high blood pressure

The MUFA found in olive oil has high content of essential fatty acids called Omega-3. Along with MUFA, Omega-3 lowers blood pressure and keeps the heart healthy. Omega-3 can only be sourced from food like olive oil as our bodies do not produce Omega-3.

  1. It regulates mood, particularly depression

Aside the above-listed physical health benefits, olive oil is also good for emotional well-being. A study supports that higher intake of olive oil lowers the risk of mental illness.

  1. It prevents osteoporosis

This is a medical condition where the bones become fragile and brittle due to hormonal changes or lack of calcium or vitamin D.

Olive oil has enough calcium content to positively affect bone density, thus preventing osteoporosis.

  1. It lowers tendencies towards Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s comes with aging. It is a mental disorder or cognitive decline that includes memory loss and difficulty in language, thinking or problem-solving. An olive oil extract, oleocanthal, can protect from you from Alzheimer’s.

  1. It has anti-inflammatory properties

Olive oil contains anti-inflammatory properties like those found in ibuprofen that can help in rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic or acute inflammations.

Cooking with olive oil

There is much debate going on whether it is safe to cook with olive oil in high heat. Food experts say that olive oil has a ‘smoke point’. It means that at 320 degrees Fahrenheit, extra virgin olive oil will start to break down and lose its character that contains health benefits, and instead, at such high heat, it will produce chemicals that are bad for the body.

However, medical doctors and researchers assure us that olive oil is stable under heat or when used in cooking. The component MUFA makes it more resistant than other kinds of oils.

So go ahead and enjoy your olive oil when you stir-fry, or use it as a replacement of butter. Not only is it delicious, and it also has loads of health benefits.

Italian LA MAJATICA OIL

‘Liquid gold’ is the name given to the valuable extra-virgin olive oil from the hills of Matera in Southern Italy. Olives originated from Asia, but olives that now grow in Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy are one of the best in the world because of the climate in these places that suit the growth of olives. Among the different kinds of olive oil, the extra-virgin olive oil has the best flavor and best quality.

For half a century now, the Valluzzi olive-press produces top quality extra-virgin olive oil from only one particular kind of olives, the cultivar majatica, thus the name La Majatica. These high-quality olives grow abundantly in that little town of Materano in Basilicata. It is lovingly and gently picked, and within 24 hours, it goes through the cold-press method to ensure the low acid level of the olive oil.

The Big Difference

What makes the olive oil from Matera so different? It comes from beautifully grown, healthy olives that give a delicate fragrance. The oil is processed within one day from picking so the acid level is lower. The color is a magical shade of green with yellow reflections. The taste is delicate and fruity, although a bit bitter and ends with an elegant spicy touch that balances the whole experience. In general, extra-virgin olive oil is pure on how it looks tastes and smells.

The La Majatica extra-virgin oil is best used to flavor food that is lightly cooked, and with delicate aroma. It can be used on salads and fish recipes.

Harvesting Gold

The La Majatica olives are gently picked, done manually during the last quarter of the year – October to November. Another method of picking is to use miniature mechanical vibrators that will cause them to fall. To avoid bruising them, nets are placed around the trees to catch the olives. They are then placed in crates without lids and taken to the mill where they are processed within 24 hours.

There are suction machines which separate the olives from the leaves and twigs. Then it is placed back into the open crates where they are crushed or broken. The next phase is the mixing and slow re-mixing to get the olive paste. This paste is placed into the mixer where the oil is separated. Then there is the extraction where the paste is removed, and you get olive oil, olive residue and vegetation water. The final step is the separation using the centrifuge separator to totally separate the oily part from the vegetation water.

Benefits of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Compared with other kinds of oil, the extra-virgin olive oil has these benefits:

  • It is rich in vitamin K and E, and beneficial fatty acids;
  • Contains anti-oxidants which fight off diseases like cancer;
  • Fights inflammations that are linked to heart diseases, diabetes and arthritis;
  • Prevents blood clots;
  • Lowers blood pressure;
  • Boosts circulation of blood;
  • Promotes longevity.

Food Uses

  • Use when cooking pasta for added rich flavor;
  • To bake bread, mixing it in the recipe and for brushing on top;
  • Olive oil biscotti;
  • Foudjou, a cheese spread with olive oil and herbs;
  • Seasoning for chicken recipes, like olive oil confit chicken;
  • As a drink ‘ Olive 7 Ways’which mixes extra-virgin olive oil with dry vermouth.

Uses of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

More than just cooking, here are the other uses of extra-virgin olive oil:

  • Use on your meals and it helps weight loss;
  • Pain relief with its anti-inflammatory powers;
  • Prevents aging on skin and other damage;
  • Beautifies skin, especially stretch marks.

This ‘liquid gold’ has put Matera in the map.  Its hills are blessed with abundance of this special kind of olives.  From their farm to our kitchens, enjoy!