‘Olive oil is costly but healthier’
Refined oil per se is not bad. But olive oil has the highest MUFA (good fat) and lowest PUFA (bad fat). It’s the healthiest oil anyone can use. But there are doubts regarding its usage and availability,” said Rahul Upadhyay, President, Indian Olive Association (IOA), during its annual session titled Olive Oil in India – 2.0 at Hotel Le Meridien on Friday. The event was organised in an effort to promote benefits and usage of the oil.
He said, “Though a lot of people have started using olive oil, there is a huge population that is in dilemma about what to use, how to use and when. It’s costlier but it has very low absorption, so one needs very less amount of it for cooking compared to other edible oils. Most importantly, it doesn’t change the taste of the food.”
Since IOA’s inception in 2007, it has been organising this event to promote usage of this oil. But this time it was held after a gap of four years, where panellists, chefs and experts discussed its value for a healthy life.
“Government has increased the import to 49 per cent. But people are becoming aware and have started using it as edible oil. In 2009, the imports were just 2,700 tonnes. The main usage at that time was as a cosmetic item. In 2019, we imported 11,700 tonnes, which shows a four-fold increase,” added Upadhayay, who personally has been consuming olive oil for 12 years now.
Naming the several types of olive oils: Pure Olive Oil, Virgin Oil, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, and Pomace Olive Oil, he said, “Pomace Olive Oil, Pure Olive Oil and Extra Light Olive Oil are perfect for Indian kitchens. Though the latter are costlier than former. Even desi ghee is as costly as olive oil. But ghee is high in cholesterol. Using olive oil is a preventive measure, which is better than cure. One can lead a healthy life by making it a routine.”
Olive oil facts
■ Extra Virgin Olive Oil: It is extracted by milling of olives and has acidity of .8 per cent. Used for dipping bread, dressing, dips, cold dishes.
■ Olive oil & Extra-light Olive Oil: It is extracted by refining oil that has acidity of above 8 per cent. Used for cooking and frying.
■ Pomace Olive Oil: It is solvent-extracted oil taken out from the leftover olive mixture, pulp and skin. That’s why it’s the cheapest. Suitable for frying and cooking.