The Truth About Olive Oil
This article stemmed from a recent argument about what is better for cooking: regular olive oil or extra virgin olive oil?
Lets start with some general information about olive oil:
Fruit or Vegetable?
How is olive oil produced?
- Unlike other cooking oils like vegetable oil, that are industrially processed and refined for their oil, olive oil is basically squeezed (loosely termed) from the fruit of the olive tree (the olive itself). This means that the olive oil is not only healthier, but it is maintaining all of its antioxidants and other healthy components. Vegetable oils that are processed and refined are not only unhealthy, but lose many of their nutrients and flavor in the refining process.
What is the difference when it comes to the choices of olive oil?
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is the best! It has the best taste, aroma, and color.
- Regular Olive Oil: This is actually a refined version of olive oil with a small blend of virgin olive oil for taste and flavor.
- Light Olive Oil: This is actually not a reduced fat version of olive oil. It has the same fat content of other olive oil, but with a lighter taste and aroma.
Now that you have a little background information on olive oil, let’s find out if it is better to cook with regular olive oil or extra virgin olive oil:
The argument was basically that it’s better to use regular olive oil for cooking because when extra virgin olive oil is heated, it would lose or burn off the nutrients present in the oil. I thought this sounded ridiculous so I decided to dig a bit deeper into the issue. After some thorough research it turns out that this is……. NOT TRUE! The only thing lost in the cooking and heating of olive oil is the esters and alcohols in the oil. This means that the nutritional value stands and the only thing lost is the flavor and aroma of the olive oil. This is why it is common to hear people say that extra virgin olive oil should be saved for a garnish on salads and vegetables.
So in conclusion: Do not worry about the nutritional benefits of your extra virgin olive oil being jeopardized, but be prepared to sacrifice flavor!