Extra virgin olive oil is considered top grade, and as a result, is the most expensive class of olive oil. That’s because it’s cold-pressed rather than heat-processed like refined olive oil.
All olive oils offer many health benefits, but some beneficial nutrients are more abundant in extra virgin olive oil. Here’s the difference between extra virgin olive oil and regular olive oil, as well as their health benefits and how to use them in the kitchen.
There are three classes of olive oil, according to the USDA: pure olive oil, olive oil, and refined olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil falls under the category of “virgin olive oil”, and is essentially unprocessed or crude olive oil. Rather than being heat-treated, it is cold-pressed. It is considered top grade olive oil, followed by regular olive oil and then refined olive oil. For that reason, it is also the most expensive olive oil.
The taste of extra virgin olive oil varies slightly based on the product itself, but it usually has a peppery, fruity, bitter taste.
On the other hand, regular or “pure” olive oil is made with a mixture of refined and extra virgin olive oil. Refined olive oil is usually made from damaged olives whose oils are tasteless. Therefore, these oils are heated, neutralized, bleached and deodorized to enhance the flavor. Then, they are combined with a small amount of pure olive oil to make regular olive oil.
Light olive oil, another product you probably see on grocery store shelves, simply has a more refined oil compared to regular olive oil, so the color and flavor is lighter.
One tablespoon (13.5 grams) of extra virgin olive oil includes:
- calories: 119
- Fat: 12.6 grams
- Saturated fat: 16.4% of total fat
- Monounsaturated fat: 73.9% of total fat
- Polyunsaturated fat: 9.7% of total fat
- Vitamin E: 1.94 milligrams, or 13% of the daily value (dv)
- Vitamin K: 8.13 micrograms, or 7% of the DV
Extra virgin olive oil also contains phenolic compounds associated with reducing inflammation and preventing chronic disease and small amounts of the antioxidants beta-carotene and lycopene.
Olive oil is particularly known for its benefits on heart health. That’s in part because olive oil is a great source of unsaturated fatty acids, which are better for heart health than saturated fatty acids like those found in butter or dairy fat.
Eating at least 0.5 tablespoons of olive oil per day is associated with a reduced risk of death from not only cardiovascular disease (CVD), but also cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and respiratory diseases, especially when replacing margarine , butter, mayonnaise and dairy. fat
Compared to regular olive oil, extra virgin olive oil has a slightly higher percentage of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These types of fatty acids are associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease in adults and better metabolic health in adults with type 2 diabetes.
In addition, oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid found in extra virgin olive oil, has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity when substituted for saturated fatty acids in the diet.
Extra virgin olive oil is also a good source of vitamin E – an antioxidant that can help neutralize free radicals to prevent oxidative damage to your cells. Oxidative damage is associated with the development and progression of various diseases including CVD and cancer so it is important to consume dietary sources of antioxidants to prevent disease.
Another component of extra virgin olive oil are phenolic compounds with potential health benefits. They are responsible for the effectiveness of olive oil in fighting hypertension and improving lipid profiles.
Culinarily, extra virgin olive oil has a delightful fruity and peppery flavor where chefs and culinary connoisseurs tend to favor the more neutral flavor of regular olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is a highly nutritious food and a staple of the Mediterranean diet – an eating pattern renowned for its health benefits. Therefore, using extra virgin olive oil as one of your dietary fats may be beneficial to your health. However, overdosing on olive oil can be harmful.
Because keto is one of the most popular fad diets, many people think that high-fat, low-carb diets are the way to go. However, a balanced diet with carbohydrates, protein, and fat is essential for overall health for most of the population.
Eating a diet low in carbs and high in fats leads to under-consumption of important foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the following macronutrient breakdown for adults:
- Carbohydrates: 45–65%
- Fat: 20–35%
- Protein: 10–35%
So, while extra virgin olive oil is an incredibly nutritious fat to include in your diet, be sure to also include protein and fiber sources in your diet to promote overall health. Olive oil is a great way to make proteins and vegetables tastier.
Extra virgin olive oil can indeed be used for cooking. One study found it to be the most stable oil when heated due to its relatively low polyunsaturated fatty acid content. That’s important because when you burn oils, they can degrade and oxidize, producing compounds that can be harmful to health. Different oils have different smoke and stability points, which indicate at what temperature and how easily they will degrade.
Another study found that virgin olive oil is safe for frying and may even be better than refined vegetable oils.
Therefore, extra virgin olive oil should be safe to use for roasting, sauteeing, and frying. You can also use it raw in salad dressings.
Extra virgin olive oil – an unprocessed form of olive oil with a better flavor profile – not only adds more depth to your dishes, it may also improve your health. Olive oil consumption is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and other causes of mortality thanks largely to its unsaturated fats and antioxidants. Using it instead of saturated fats such as butter, dairy fat and animal fats is likely to bring the greatest health benefits, so consider using the cooking oil for roasting and sautéeing food.