Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the juice squeezed directly from the olive fruit. It is produced by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil.
Key differences between regular oil and extra virgin olive oil
The name ‘vegetable oil’ means the oil is made from a plant and is usually a blend of two or more oils including canola, corn, soybean, safflower, palm, and sunflower oils. Vegetable oil is considered refined rather than ‘virgin’ or ‘unrefined’, due to the processing methods required to create a pleasant tasting and stable cooking oil. However, many of the beneficial properties of the oil like polyphenols and vitamin E, are lost during the refinement process. Vegetable oils typically have a high smoke point, which means the oil doesn’t break down until it reaches a high temperature. This characteristic means that it is useful for high temperature cooking such as frying and deep frying. Extra virgin olive oil is a very different product, mainly due to the extraction process. No heat or chemicals are used during extraction and the term ‘extra virgin’ is the highest grade of olive oil. Olives are considered a fruit and are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and polyphenols. Although it has a lower smoke point than vegetable oil, recent studies have shown that due to its high antioxidant content, the oil remains stable when heated and produces fewer dangerous by-products than any other oil. Health benefits of olive oil As mentioned above, extra virgin olive oil is not refined or extracted using chemicals or heat, which makes it high in natural plant polyphenols (antioxidants) and healthy fats. These are beneficial for health, in particular heart and blood vessel health. Olives contain natural plant Polyphenols. Polyphenols help to slow the development of cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Plant polyphenols have antioxidant properties and are anti-inflammatory, anti- allergic, anti-atherogenic, anti-thrombotic, and anti-mutagenic. Olive oil contains healthy fats such as Omega 6 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. These help to raise the good (HDL) cholesterol and lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol. For athletes in particular, EVOO has positive effects on Inflammation and injury, bone health, metabolic health, weight management and blood glucose control. What to look for to ensure high quality EVOO?
Make sure its extra virgin olive oil- Check the label
Cold pressed 4-6 hours after harvesting and first pressed is ideal- Check the label
Check the harvest date on the label and ensure it is used within 12-14 months from the time of harvest.
Buy Australian grown as it is fresher - check the label to see where your chosen oil comes from.
Look for the Australian Olive Association symbol on the pack of the product to ensure it meets Extra Virgin grade requirements.
How much olive oil per day?
According to the “Smiles Trial”, a well-known trial that looked at the impact of food on our mood and mental health suggests 60ml of olive oil per day. Read more about it here: https://foodandmoodcentre.com.au/smiles-trial/ Sports Dietitians Australia also suggest 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil for athletes. Read more about it here: https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/fuelling-recovery/extra-virgin-olive-oil-athletes/
How to use Olive Oil?
In salad as a dressing
Drizzled on Rye toast with tahini and s sprinkle of salt
To put on top of vegetables
Here's a great recipe you can try using olive oil
And here's where you can source some local South Australian Olive oil
Many thanks, Mattea Palombo