Olive oil is the original superfood. Since ancient times, people have recognized it is a potent elixir for good health.
Olive oil has been shown fight virtually every major illness. Studies have found it protects against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.1,2
But not all olive oils are created equal. You not only have to buy the right olive oil to get the most health benefits…you need to know how to use it correctly.
Get the Most from Your Olive Oil
Here are six simple ways to maximize olive oil’s power to keep you healthy:
- Look for these letters. DOP, DO, DOC, and PDO on the label of imported oils are universally trusted European certificates of quality and origin. If your oil is from California, make sure it has a COOC seal (California Olive Oil Council) and a USDA organic certification.
Some unscrupulous companies cut their olive oil with cheaper, less healthy oils—like soybean or sunflower oils. These letters help ensure that you’re not buying counterfeit oil.3
- Buy organic, extra virgin. Organic extra virgin oil is made from the first pressing of organically grown olives. There are no chemicals or heat used that can degrade the oil’s nutrients. No further processing occurs after the pressing.
Extra virgin oil contains no more than 0.8% acidity. This is a key metric for determining nutrient quality.4
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- Make sure it’s in the right container. Buy olive oil in a dark glass bottle or a steel container. Avoid clear and plastic bottles.
Clear bottles expose oil to light. Light leads to oxidation and rancidity. Plastic containers can leach noxious substances, such as PVCs, into the oil.5
- Keep it cool, but not too cool. Extra virgin olive oil is best stored at cool room temperature, about 70 degrees F. Keep your oil in a dark cupboard away from stove heat. Don’t put it in the refrigerator. It will solidify, making it hard to pour. And refrigeration can give extra virgin olive oil an off taste, say some experts.6
- Check the date. Olive oil does not improve with age. Nutrients and flavor degrade over time. Look for a sell-by date on the container. Oil older than a year has lost more than 40% of its nutritional potency.
- Don’t overheat. If you are cooking with olive oil, never let it smoke. If you do, you’ve ruined its antioxidant power. Olive oil’s smoking point is about 400 degrees F.7
One more thing… It’s a myth that dark olive oil is healthier than lighter oils. High-quality olive oil can range from dark green to pale yellow. The color tells nothing about the nutritional value.
Some producers have taken advantage of this misconception by adding leaves to the olive crush. This adds chlorophyll and a dark green color. But it doesn’t add nutrition or flavor.8