|Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and has a tendency to lower the levels of certain types of cholesterol and raise others. The net result of this is a lower serum cholesterol.
When findings about the Mediterranean diet were released it was evident that the use of olive oil in those diets played a role in a generally lower incidence of heart disease.
Olive oil varies in color and may range from pale-yellow to deep-green depending on the fruit used and its processing. Cold pressed olive oil is superior in flavor to refined. Oil from the first pressing, called "virgin" olive oil is the most flavorful. Also classified according to acidity there is: extra virgin, superfine, fine, virgin, and pure, in ascending degree of acidity. "Pure" olive oil, and that labeled just "olive oil" may be a combination of cold-pressed and refined oil and is suitable only for cooking. Olive oil has a relatively low smoke point (375 degrees) and is often blended with a higher smoke point oil, such as canola, to facilitate cooking at really hot temperatures.