Originating from Mediterranean countries, olive oil is delicious, flavorful, and rich in monounsaturated fats, making it a healthy option to cook with and enjoy daily. But what's the difference between regular olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil? And doesn't it go bad if you store it for too long? Or what about overheating it — does that make it lose all of its nutritional goodness? Here are all of the important details you need to know about incorporating olive oil into your diet.
As we all learned from the Butter or Margarine Quiz, olive oil is a much healthier alternative. Butter is bad for your heart since it is high in saturated fats, and most margarines are made from hydrogenated oil so they contain trans fats which raises your cholesterol.
OK back to olive oil — what's the difference between virgin and extra virgin? Is one healthier than the other? What about refined olive oil? Does refined mean better? Is one better suited for cooking?
Extra-virgin olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olives. It contains no more than 8% acidity (oleic acid), and is said to have a superior taste. Extra-virgin olive oil has higher levels of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, chlorophyll and magnesium. Contrary to popular belief, heating it will not cause it to lose its health benefits, it will only lose flavor.
Want to know about virgin olive oil and which one is best to cook with? Then read more