Sunday, June 6, 2010

What is Halal?

Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. The opposite of Halal is Haram, which means unlawful or prohibited. Halal and Haram are universal terms that apply to all facets of life. However, we will use these terms only in relation to food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, food ingredients, and food contact materials.
While many things are clearly Halal or clearly Haram, there are some things which are not clear. These items are considered questionable or suspect and more information is needed to categorize them as Halal or Haram. Such items are often referred to as Mashbooh, which means doubtful or questionable.
All foods are considered Halal except the following, which are Haram:
  • Swine/pork and its by-products
  • Animals improperly slaughtered or dead before slaughtering
  • Animals killed in the name of anyone other than ALLAH (God)
  • Alcohol and intoxicants
  • Carnivorous animals, birds of prey and land animals without external ears
  • Blood and blood by-products
  • Foods contaminated with any of the above products
Foods containing ingredients such as gelatin, enzymes, emulsifiers, etc. are questionable (Mashbooh) because the origin of these ingredients is not known.

Important Qualities of Wholesale Olive Oil

Eliminating the bad fats from your diet and replacing these with good fats from plant oils will help you fight most diseases and improve quality of life. While health experts recommend taking only extra virgin oil, suppliers of wholesale olive oil report a higher demand for its less healthy version, the pure or light oil.

Why extra virgin is better
Olive oil comes from the fruit of the olive tree which grows only in countries with warm summer temperatures. The round green fruit reaches maturity usually by the end of summer and just before winter sets in. At this time, the fruit is picked and checked for maturity using a squeeze test. Fluid that is readily expressed at the stem end is a sign of maturity.

Ideally, fruit that is used for oil production should not be bruised or show any sign of damage. The fruits are handpicked and not harvested by machine to prevent damage. After washing and treating the fruits with cool water, these are immediately processed under low temperatures to extract the oil which is known as extra virgin oil.

Oil that is not extracted this way cannot be considered virgin oil although producers of wholesale olive oil still sell it as pure or light virgin oil. Processing at high temperatures as well destroys the plant chemicals and reduces the health value of the oil.

The immediate extraction contains the highest level of antioxidants and unsaturated fats that make this oil a superfood. In particular, polyphenols (or plant chemicals) that provide a natural protection for plants have the following important properties:

Anti-inflammatory: A chemical compound has been identified in olives that has the same characteristic bite that ibuprofen (a Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug or NSAID) has. A study suggests that this plant chemical also has anti-inflammatory reactions to the human body and may help fight cell damage. This finding explains why consumers of the Mediterranean diet which uses olive oil liberally experience the lowest incidents of heart and degenerative diseases.

Reduce bad cholesterol: Up to 80% of virgin oil can consist of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat not found in other plants. Studies confirm that this fatty acid lowers bad cholesterol in the blood, lowers blood pressure and reduces risk of coronary heart disease.

The source of wholesale olive oil is important because the maturity of the fruit, quick processing time and cleanliness of the production facilities determine the quality of the virgin oil you are getting.

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