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    Olive oil is fat in the real sense of the word. But the fat that it contains is the monounsaturated fatty acid or MUFA considered to be the healthy type.

    There are several health benefits to be gained from olive oil consumption. Firstly, it lowers the risk of heart disease together with the polyunsaturated fat. It is able to do this by cutting total cholesterol levels. Some studies have found that MUFAs also control insulin and blood sugar levels.

    Olive oil can be a good alternative to your butter or stick margarine. Do remember it’s never appropriate to use them together.

    When shopping for this item, pick the one that is less processed as it still contains the nutrients. The extra virgin oil, which is more expensive, goes through the first pressing only and therefore, retains the most flavor. The cold pressed ones and virgin oil are okay as well as they are not heated up beyond room temperature. What you should avoid are the regular or pure olive oil which normally undergoes refining and filtering. Generally, they have lower nutrients.

    If you can get the organic type, the better for you. They’re best to use when you’re preparing spaghetti, vegetables and fresh salads.

    Other than cooking, it has many other valuable uses. It can be used in personal care, home improvement and natural remedies.

    Olive oil can serve as a skin moisturizer and helps improve damaged hair. It can also be taken as is to relieve snoring. You might be surprised to know that it cures earaches as well.

    Practice the proper way of storing olive oil as well. Keep it in a dark cupboard in room temprature or inside the refrigerator. In addition, you need to use it within six months to a year after opening because the its taste and phytonutrients can degrade through time.

    Good Housekeeping.com last week released its list of best olive oils. The list was made after a taste test was done by tasters covering 22 extra virgin olive oils. The top picks include Iliada, Columela, California Olive Ranch, Pompeian, Lucini, Olivista, DeCecco, Carapelli, O-Live, Filippo Berio and Colavita.

    Photo via business2community.com

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