10 Things You Didn't Know About Olive Oil

Think you know everything about your favorite cooking oil? As it turns out, your olive oil is hiding a few secrets in the bottle. From a sordid relationship with the Italian mafia to properties that actually debunk the myth that oil is bad for your skin, these 10 facts about olive oil prove that it is more than a tasty addition to salad dressings.

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Olive oil has been a staple of the Mediterranean diet for centuries. There is hardly an Italian, Greek, or Spanish kitchen considered complete without it. But beyond its ability to add fresh, fruity notes to food, olive oil is touted as a cure-all for the body. As a fat relatively low in saturated fat, it has become the go-to oil for those watching cholesterol levels and its even been touted as dermatological wunderkind because of its anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe dermatitis.

Extra-virgin olive oil is considered unrefined and of the highest quality of all the grades of olive oil. To meet the extra-virgin standards, the olive oil must be left untreated by chemicals or heat, which helps it retain its olive flavor. Also, extra-virgin olive oils must contain no more than one percent of oleic acid, which contributes to the stronger taste and richer color of the oil.

But what else do you need to know about one of our favorite pantry staples? We've rounded up 10 facts about olive oil to help you feel just a little more informed about the dynamic ingredient next time you find yourself stumped in the oil aisle at the grocery store.

Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.