Types of edible vegetable oils

Edible vegetable oils are essential for maintaining the balance of the lipids, cholesterol and lipoproteins circulating in the blood and that play a vital role in our body.

Vegetable oils provide vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as essential oils that our body cannot produce. They also possess the properties to bring out many of the organoleptic characteristics of food, such as the flavour, aroma and texture.

Thanks to the wide variety of oilseeds and oleaginous fruits that can be found on the market, there is a long list of edible vegetable oils, among which the most significant are:



 Different varieties of olive oil:

  • Virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil

This is the oil obtained from olives using physical processes, without coming into contact with organic solvents and while maintaining a temperature less than or equal to 35ºC during extraction.

  • Olive oil

This is a mixture of refined olive oil and virgin or extra virgin olive oil.

  • Olive pomace oil

This is a mixture of refined olive pomace oil and virgin or extra virgin olive oil.

  • Seed oils:

These are oils that are obtained from fruits or seeds under conditions that make it possible to obtain a bromatologically acceptable product, extracted by means of physical processes (either mechanically or through the use of solvents).

Vegetable seed oils can be marketed under the name of the seed from which they originate, with the most well-known being sunflower oil, corn oil and grapeseed oil. There are also seed oils that can be produced by mixing two or more oils originating from the aforementioned seeds.



The benefits of the mediterranean diet and of olive oil

Our body needs a healthy and balanced diet, which includes the right amount of nutrients. Fats are one of the most important nutrients as they are energy-rich, involved in the development of cellular structures and because without them it would be impossible to assimilate certain vitamins and minerals.

Though certain fats are good, it is important to point out that not all of them are. Those that are beneficial to the body and that reduce harmful levels of cholesterol in the blood are monounsaturated fats, such as the oleic acid contained in olive oil.

Harmful fats are those that originate from animals or other plant seeds (coconut oil, palm oil, etc.), which increase cholesterol in the blood, thus leading to circulatory and coronary risks such as heart attacks, a drop in blood pressure and dilated blood vessels.

When nutrition experts researched how to convert nutritional recommendations into specific foods and types of meals, they rediscovered and extolled the virtues of the traditional Mediterranean diet.

When studying eating habits they found that the diet of the various Mediterranean regions, which was composed of vegetables, herbs, legumes, fruits, fish, virgin olive oil and wine, could be the reason for the low levels of cholesterol that these people presented in comparison to those found among North American, British and Central European populations, which consumed a diet with a higher caloric content, based on animal fats and proteins, dairy products and sweets prepared with butter or its derivatives.

The term “Mediterranean diet” was coined based on these studies, referring to it as a healthy diet especially due to its beneficial effects on cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, one of the bases of this recognition is Virgin Olive Oil.



Ten qualities of extra virgin olive oil

  • It is the only natural olive oil that is obtained solely using mechanical procedures.
  • It contains the highest amounts of vitamins E, A and D.
  • It is the healthiest and the easiest to digest.
  • As it is natural, it is a nutritional product and is not fattening.
  • It is economical as it can be reused more than once.
  • It provides the best flavour for sauces, salads and stews.
  • As it can reach temperatures in excess of 180 degrees, it is more effective for frying foods.
  • As it contains oleic acid, it is beneficial (when uncooked) for bone growth and brain development as well as for the nervous system.
  • It does not produce cholesterol and is excellent for circulatory and cardiovascular diseases.
  • It is very beneficial to the skin as it provides it with vitamin E.


Recommendations for use of the oil

Is it bad to use the same oil to fry with?

You shouldn’t use the same oil more than two or three times, as the repeated use of an oil will cause it to lose some of its properties and nutrients.

If we use a quality olive oil (first cold-pressed, pure olive juice) we can reuse it several times (between three and four times) as it is an oil of high nutritional quality.

Frying with olive oil:

When frying food it is very important to choose a good oil. Olive oil is an oil that can withstand the highest temperatures. Other oils are more vulnerable to high temperatures, as they have low melting points and oxidise much more easily, thus releasing compounds that have harmful effects on health.



Alternative uses of olive oil

The use of olive oil is not just limited to a balanced diet, but it also produces beneficial effects if used as follows:

Olive oil as an alternative to shaving oil
Olive oil can be used instead of shaving cream as it hydrates ad protects the skin.

Olive oil gives you beautiful hair

Olive oil can give you natural, shiny-looking hair when used as a hair mask.

Olive oil as a cure for snoring

Some experts claim that taking a sip of olive oil before going to sleep can prevent throat muscles from making these particular sounds.

Olive oil for constipation

Taking a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil a day on an empty stomach may alleviate constipation.