Despite all the hype around coconut oil*, Extra Virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the healthiest oil and should be your #1 choice when it comes to using oils for salads and cooking! Find out why below.
What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
EVOO is the fresh healthy juice that is squeezed directly from the olive fruit. It’s 100% natural with no chemicals or heat used, leaving it high in natural antioxidants & healthy fats.
Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – EVOO has the highest level of antioxidants & lowest level of “unhealthy” trans fats compared to all other oils. Below are just some of the health benefits of
- Heart Health – EVOO contains antioxidants that have protective heart properties that help reduce bad cholesterol, increase your good cholesterol and reduce your blood pressure. Further, it doesn’tcontain any trans fats, which are damaging to your heart.
- Weight Control – diets that consume EVOO as the dominant lipid (fat) are associated with reduced rates of obesity. Adding EVOO to your meals (e.g. as a dressing on salads) naturally helps you feel full, which can reduce the amount of food you eat & aid weight loss.
- Inflammation – EVOO contains bio-actives that can slow down inflammation, including oleocanthal which has a similar mode of action to ibuprofen!
- Slows Ageing – EVOO contains high levels of natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, slowing the visible signs of aging!
How To Choose The Best Olive Oil
- Ensure it is clearly labelled with “Extra Virgin” – any other name isn’t the real deal.
- Choose locally grown Australian Olive Oil – this means it’s fresher than imported olive oils and will contain more health benefits.
- Don’t choose Extra light/ Light or pure olive oil varieties – these are simply light in colour not calories and don’t contain as much of the healthy antioxidants.
- Buy fresh, cold pressed if possible.
How & When To Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil
EVOO can be used for salad dressings, frying, BBQ’ing & baking. Despite popular belief, EVOO is actually the safest oil to cook with and has the most nutritional benefits. And yes, it’s a lot healthier and a much better option that coconut oil. Oxidative stability, not smoke point, is the best predictor of an oil when heated. EVOO has a high oxidative stability, making it a very stable oil when heated. Research shows that Cobram Estate’s EVOO has a smoke point well above the standard temperatures required for cooking, making it a very healthy oil to cook with (including deep frying and sautéing). There is also scientific evidence to demonstrate that a substantial amount of antioxidants can still be found in a meal cooked with EVOO. Further, when vegetables are cooked in EVOO, it can help with the absorption of key nutrients in the veggies.
A note on Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is rich in saturated fat (around 85-90% saturated fat) & particularly high in one type of saturated fatty acid called lauric acid. Lauric acid can mimic “healthy” unsaturated fats by increasing our HDL (good) cholesterol. So this is a positive for coconut oil & makes it less concerning than other saturated fats, like those found in meat or processed foods. Coconut oil can also help with making you feeling full & satisfied after a meal. However, research has also found that coconut oil can increase our total cholesterol & unhealthy LDL cholesterol in our blood. While much more research needs to be conducted on coconut oil, based on the current evidence, I would not recommend coconut oil to those at risk of/with heart disease. Further, coconut oil doesn’t provide the beneficial vitamins or the polyphenol antioxidant compounds like those found in extra virgin olive oil. For for these reasons, I still recommend choosing olive oil over coconut oil as your primary oil of choice. And remember, this is not to say you shouldn’t ever use coconut oil, just note that you will get more healthy benefits from regularly using olive oil.
Check out my pics from my recent trip to Cobram Estate for part of my research on Olive Oil.
Editors Note: This is an unsponsored post & I received no financial gain from this post. I was gifted with a visit to Cobram Estate.
Allouche Y, Jimenez A, Gaforio J, Uceda M, Beltran G. How heating affects extra virgin olive oil quality indexes and chemical composition. J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(23):9646–54.
Perez-Herrera A. The antioxidants in oils heated at frying temperature, whether natural or added, could protect against postprandial oxidative stress in obese people. Food Chem. 2013;15;138(4):2250–9.
Bockisch, Michael (1998). Fats and Oils Handbook. Champaign, IL: AOCS Press. pp. 95–6. ISBN 0-935315-82-9.
Australian Olive Association. Smoke point of olive oil. Available at: http://australianextravirginoliveoil.com/the-facts/
Fats and Oils in human nutrition. FAO. Chapter 6. Cooking Oils
Methrom. Oxidation stability of oils and fats – Rancimat method. Application Bulletin 204/2 e.