Before I came to Italy, I had known that Italians used olive oil to prepare their dishes. In Indonesia, I didn’t use it as I normally cooked with vegetable oil such as palm oil and corn oil. Not only that it’s not Indonesian cooking tradition, olive oil is expensive when it’s sold in Indonesia, especially Italian brand like Bertolli.
In Indonesia, a liter of Bertolli costs €10 for each bottle, which means it is doubled from its Italian price, around €5 when there’s no promotion. And of course the expensive price could be due to the import tax.
However, I’m not going to bore you with prices of olive oil in Indonesia. Instead, I’d like to tell you why Italians use olive oil all the time to cook or to prepare dishes (raw style). Surely, the simplest answer is because it is the healthiest oil you can use for preparing dishes. But what are the health benefits?
Skin and Hair Natural Care and Antioxidants
For you fellow ladies, here it is (or also gentlemen who want this benefit!), the things you and I will love, beautiful skin and beautiful hair. Consuming olive oil will absolutely improve the health of skin and hair. Not only by consuming it, many have applied olive oil directly on their skin and hair (and I’m seriously not joking!)
If you notice, there have been many skin and hair products that include olive oil as one of their main ingredients (especially in Italy) to improve the health of the skin and hair. Even I myself have a hair-mask product made of olive oil here and I should tell the results are incredible for my hair.
Stable Cholesterol and Healthy Heart
Some of you may consider that olive oil actually contains a lot of fats. But, if you see carefully, the fats that olive oil has are the healthy ones for your diet. Olive oil contains the unsaturated fats, which are both the monounsaturated fats and the polyunsaturated fat.
These two healthy fats would help you to reduce the bad cholesterol level and keep it controlled. In addition, the monounsaturated fat that olive oil contains will protect your heart health and prevent potential heart disease.
Bone Protection and Longevity
When you consume olive oil constantly, you will also help to provide mineral and calcium for your bone, which means it will protect your bone from osteoporosis. This could be a perfect option for people who are allergic to diary products as the source of calcium.
Moreover, it has also been proven that olive oil consumption will reduce the possibility of some cancers, including the breast cancer (so ladies, let’s use olive oil!). With this benefit, it indirectly helps you to live a longer life.
To use olive oil in preparing dishes, some of you may prefer it raw as I do, for example by not heating it or using it for cooking. Well actually, you can use it for cooking. However, they say that when olive oil is heated, all the health benefits will be gone, meaning that it is useless to consume it.
For more than three years living in Italy, I have changed my cooking style by using olive oil for preparing dishes. However, when I want to cook something, I still use corn oil instead of olive oil. Not only because I want to make sure that all the health benefits of olive oil are kept; but, it also tastes better without being heated.
For me, using corn oil is another healthy choice. So, it’s good to keep both oils for my cooking style 🙂