We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
search
back
search
Hmmm...
we couldn't find any matches for {value} double check your search for any typos
most popular results
BlogCoupons
BlogCoupons
Top Delivery Services
Author Kenaz Filan
Kenaz Filan Writer
Updated on Jun 16th, 2024
Fact checked by Valentina Meneghini

How to Eat More Olive Oil: Full Guide

Olive oil isn’t just a versatile ingredient. It’s a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet due to its remarkable health benefits and versatile culinary uses. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid and other monounsaturated fats, like the essential omega-6 linoleic acid¹, that can lower LDL (low-density lipoproteins), which is the bad cholesterol, and raise HDL (high-density lipoproteins), which is the good cholesterol². It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties³, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. 

Incorporating olive oil into your diet is easy and delicious. You can use it as a salad dressing, a cooking oil, a dip, and so much more. For people paying close attention to their food and nutrition, adding olive oil to your daily meals can enhance flavor while providing numerous health benefits. 

Understanding Olive Oil

Extracted from the fruit of olive trees, olive oil comes in various grades, each with distinct characteristics and uses. Understanding these differences can help you choose the right olive oil for your needs.

The primary types of olive oil include extra virgin, virgin, and refined. Each type varies in flavor, nutritional content, and ideal culinary applications. Knowing these differences is crucial for maximizing both the health benefits and the culinary experience of using olive oil.

Types of Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is made from the first pressing of olives without the use of heat or chemicals. This ensures it retains the maximum amount of beneficial compounds such as oleocanthal, polyphenols, and antioxidants. EVOO has a rich flavor profile, making it perfect for drizzling on salads, dipping bread, and finishing dishes​. The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in EVOO, is associated with a lower risk of many diseases.

Virgin Olive Oil¹ 

Virgin olive oil is slightly lower in quality than EVOO. It’s also produced mechanically without chemicals but can have minor flavor defects. Despite this, it still retains many health benefits and can be used for sautéing, grilling, and baking, where the slight imperfections are less noticeable​.

Refined Olive Oil

Refined olive oil undergoes chemical processing to remove impurities and flavor defects. This results in a more neutral-tasting oil with fewer beneficial compounds compared to virgin or extra virgin varieties. It’s safer for high-heat cooking like frying and searing due to its higher smoke point​.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil has long been a kitchen staple for its rich flavor. But olive oil not only tastes great, it’s packed with nutrients and bioactive chemicals that are great for your health. Here’s a short sampling of some of olive oil’s potential health benefits. 

Lower LDL Cholesterol levels

Olive oil is renowned for its ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels. The high content of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants in olive oil helps reduce bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol, promoting overall heart health​.

Bone and Joint Health

Olive oil's anti-inflammatory properties and the presence of certain polyphenols can help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis​¹⁰.

Anti-carcinogenic Properties

Compounds like oleocanthal¹¹ have been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and reduce oxidative stress, contributing to cancer prevention when included as part of a healthy diet​¹².

Anti-inflammatory Properties¹³

Regular consumption of olive oil can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is linked to various chronic diseases, including heart disease and arthritis​.

Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention¹⁴

The antioxidants in olive oil protect brain cells from oxidative damage, potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases​.

Gut Microbiome Health¹⁵

The polyphenols in olive oil serve as prebiotics, feeding beneficial gut bacteria and promoting a healthy digestive system.   

Selecting the Right Olive Oil

Good olive oil has a fresh, rich, fruity taste with a light texture and a hint of bitterness. If your olive oil tastes fermented or stale, it has likely oxidized due to poor storage. If your olive oil has a waxy, sticky texture, it’s gone rancid.

What to Look for on Labels

Ensure it’s certified as extra virgin if you're looking for the highest quality. Check for harvest dates to ensure freshness and opt for oils in dark glass bottles to protect from light​ that can cause rancidity.

Best Brands for Quality

Certifications from organizations like the International Olive Council (IOC) and the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) attest to the oil's authenticity and quality. 

How to Spot Fake or Outdated Olive Oil 

Some fake EVOO is diluted with a cheap soybean or seed oil or mixed with lower-grade olive oil that's been chemically refined. This is illegal and can cause problems for those with soy or seed oil sensitivities¹⁶

More often, fresh olive oil is mixed with older olive oil from last season or earlier. By the time the bottle reaches your pantry, it’s well past its use-by date and has few of the bioactive chemicals that provide so many health benefits. 

Cooking with Olive Oil

Incorporating olive oil into your diet is simple and delicious. Use it as a salad dressing, a cooking oil, or even a dip for bread. To reap the maximum benefits, choose high-quality, certified EVOO, which ensures you get the purest form of this nutritious oil. Adding olive oil to your daily meals can enhance flavor while providing numerous health benefits.

Any olive oil is safe to cook with. EVOO has a lower smoke point but is still fine for frying¹⁷. Most people don’t measure the temperature of their oil when frying, so it may be better to choose an olive oil with a higher smoke point just to be on the safe side.

A study¹⁸ has shown that frying with EVOO (compared to other olive oils) actually increases the antioxidant content of food as the antioxidants in EVOO can transfer to the food. Another study¹⁹ has shown that food fried in olive oil was found to have antioxidants that were lacking in their raw form due to the transfer from the olive oil during cooking.

Cooking at high temperatures means that the antioxidant content of the olive oil is reduced, although a significant amount of the beneficial compounds is retained. The decreased antioxidant content in the oil is mostly due to the transfer from the oil to the food, so they aren’t really being lost and you’ll still reap the benefits²⁰.

Stir-Frying

Best Practices for Stir-Frying with Olive Oil

When stir-frying, it’s perfectly safe to fry with EVOO or any other type of olive oil due to the high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants which keep it stable even at high temperatures. EVOO is safe for frying, but the light or pure types of olive oil have higher smoke points, making them more suitable for the high temperatures required in stir-frying. Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of around 410 °F¹⁷, which can lead to burning and an unpleasant taste​ and can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that may increase cancer risk²¹.

Ensure your pan is preheated before adding the oil. This step helps to prevent sticking and ensures even cooking. Using a wok or a large skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the pan evenly. This helps in distributing the heat and cooking the ingredients quickly and uniformly​.

Recommended Temperatures

Light olive oil can handle temperatures up to 465 °F, making it ideal for stir-frying. This high smoke point ensures that the oil doesn't break down and release harmful compounds during cooking. Extra virgin olive oil is perfectly safe to use for frying, but as it is a more expensive oil, it is often reserved for finishing touches and salad dressings.

Maintain medium-high heat when stir-frying with olive oil. This temperature range allows for quick cooking without reaching the oil’s smoke point. Continuously stirring the ingredients also helps to distribute the heat evenly and prevents any one component from burning​.

Baking

Replacing Butter with Olive Oil

Replacing butter with olive oil in baking can reduce saturated fat and add heart-healthy monounsaturated fats to your diet. Generally, use three-quarters of the amount of olive oil as you would butter. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, use 3/4 cup of olive oil​.

Olive oil adds a unique flavor to baked goods. While it works well in savory items like bread and muffins, its distinct taste can also complement sweet treats like cakes and cookies. Experiment with different types of olive oil to find the flavor profile that best suits your recipe​ 

Recipes for Olive Oil Baked Goods

Olive oil cakes are moist and flavorful, making them a great dessert option. Combine olive oil with ingredients like citrus zest or chocolate to enhance the flavors. This type of cake is perfect for pairing with fresh fruit or a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Use olive oil in recipes for focaccia or ciabatta. The oil not only contributes to the bread's tenderness but also imparts a rich, complex flavor. Brush the bread with additional olive oil before baking to achieve a golden, crispy crust​. 

Roasting Vegetables

Roasting vegetables with olive oil can enhance their natural flavors and add a nutritious boost. The oil helps to caramelize the vegetables, giving them a rich, savory taste. Lightly coat vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers in olive oil before roasting​.

Preheat your oven to around 400 °F. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet to ensure even cooking. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and golden brown. Finish with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and fresh herbs for added flavor​. 

Dressings and Marinades

Simple Olive Oil Dressing Recipes

This classic dressing combines fresh lemon juice with extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, and dried oregano. The typical ratio is 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice, but you can adjust it to suit your taste. This simple yet vibrant vinaigrette is perfect for salads, roasted vegetables, or as a marinade for chicken​​.

Balsamic Vinegar Dressing is a staple in many kitchens. This dressing mixes balsamic vinegar with extra virgin olive oil in a 1:3 ratio. For added depth, you can include a touch of honey or mustard. This dressing works wonderfully on leafy green salads, especially those with arugula and shaved Parmesan​.

Marinades for Meat and Vegetables

A simple marinade can include olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs like rosemary or thyme. For meats like chicken or pork, allow them to marinate for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavors. Vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant also benefit from a brief soak in a similar mixture before grilling or roasting.

Many vinaigrettes double as marinades. For example, a Dijon mustard vinaigrette, made with mustard, olive oil, and vinegar, can enhance the flavor of meats and vegetables. Ensure that the acid in the marinade, such as lemon juice or vinegar, doesn’t marinate meats for too long to avoid a mushy texture​.

Olive Oil Dips for Bread

A basic yet delicious dip for bread combines extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and a touch of crushed red pepper flakes. For added flavor, you can mix in minced garlic or dried herbs like oregano and basil. Serve this dip with crusty bread as an appetizer or side dish​.

Create a more aromatic dip by infusing olive oil with fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and basil. Simply heat the olive oil gently with the herbs to release their flavors, then cool and serve with bread. This method can be customized with different herbs and spices to suit your taste​​.

Pesto

Traditional pesto combines fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. Blend all ingredients until smooth, adjusting the amount of olive oil to achieve your desired consistency. Pesto is incredibly versatile, perfect for tossing with pasta, spreading on sandwiches, or using as a marinade for meats and vegetables.

Experiment with different greens, such as arugula or spinach, in place of basil, and substitute pine nuts with walnuts or almonds. You can also add sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers for a unique twist. Pesto is a great way to use up extra greens and herbs, making it a flavorful and practical addition to your cooking repertoire​

Incorporating Olive Oil into Daily Meals

Breakfast Ideas

Olive Oil in Smoothies

Olive oil can be a great addition to your morning smoothies. Adding a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to your smoothie can enhance its nutritional value without altering the flavor significantly. Olive oil's healthy fats help improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, making your smoothie even healthier.

Drizzling over Toast

Drizzling olive oil over toast is a simple and delicious way to start your day. Replace butter with a high-quality extra virgin olive oil for a heart-healthy alternative. The rich, robust flavor of EVOO pairs perfectly with various toppings such as tomatoes, avocado, or a sprinkle of sea salt​.

Mashed Avocado and Olive Oil 

Combine mashed avocado with olive oil for a nutrient-dense breakfast. Mashing avocado with a bit of olive oil creates a creamy spread that's perfect for toast. This combination provides a dose of healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants to keep you energized throughout the morning.

Lunch and Dinner Solutions

Salads with Olive Oil

Salads with olive oil are a classic and nutritious choice. Create your own dressings by mixing olive oil with vinegar, lemon juice, and your favorite herbs. This not only enhances the flavor of your salads but also ensures you benefit from the antioxidants and healthy fats in olive oil​.

Cooking with Olive Oil

Cooking with olive oil is versatile and beneficial. Whether you're sautéing vegetables, roasting meats, or even baking, olive oil can replace less healthy fats in your recipes. Its high smoke point makes it suitable for various cooking methods, ensuring your dishes are both delicious and heart-healthy​​.

Hummus

Hummus made with olive oil is a tasty and healthy snack. Incorporating olive oil into your homemade hummus not only adds flavor but also enhances the creamy texture. This popular dip can be enjoyed with vegetables, pita bread, or as a spread on sandwiches​.

Beyond Cooking: Other Uses of Olive Oil

Skincare with Olive Oil

Homemade Olive Oil Skincare Products

Homemade olive oil skincare products are natural and effective. Olive oil can be used as a base for various DIY skincare products, including moisturizers, scrubs, and masks. Mixing olive oil with ingredients like honey, sea salt, or essential oils can create nourishing treatments that hydrate and protect your skin​​.

Benefits for Hair and Skin

The benefits of olive oil for hair and skin are well-documented. Olive oil's moisturizing properties help to keep skin soft and smooth, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and enhance skin elasticity. For hair, olive oil can strengthen and condition, promoting shine and reducing scalp irritation​.

Supplemental Uses

Taking olive oil as a supplement can be beneficial for overall health. Consuming a tablespoon or 2 of extra virgin olive oil daily can support heart health, improve digestion, and provide a rich source of antioxidants. This simple addition to your diet can have significant long-term health benefits​.

Recommended Dosages

Recommended dosages of olive oil vary, but a common suggestion is around 2 tablespoons daily. This amount is generally sufficient to enjoy the health benefits without consuming excessive calories. Always opt for high-quality extra virgin olive oil​.

FAQ

Which olive oil is the healthiest?

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is thought to be the healthiest olive oil. This is because no heat or chemicals are used in the pressing of the olives, so beneficial compounds such as polyphenols and antioxidants are retained. Refined olive oil undergoes chemical processing to remove impurities and flavor defects. This means it has fewer beneficial compounds. It does have a higher smoke point and is ideal for high-heat cooking.

Can olive oil help my cholesterol levels?

Olive oil is very good at lowering the levels of bad cholesterol. This is because there are high levels of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants that reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.

How much olive oil is recommended per day?

It’s generally thought that around 2 tablespoons per day is fine. Don’t forget that olive oil can be quite calorific, so don’t consume it excessively.

References 

    1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8424077/

      2https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/hdl-good-ldl-bad-cholesterol-and-triglycerides

        3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29141574/

          4https://www.oliveoil.com/the-different-types-of-olive-oil-their-uses/

            5https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34423871/

              6https://www.internationaloliveoil.org/

                7https://www.oliveoil.com/the-different-types-of-olive-oil-their-uses/

                  8https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7466243/

                    9https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997441/

                      10https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/healthy-eating/olive-oil-benefits-arthritis

                        11https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38136231/

                          12https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8751986/

                            13https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10744258/

                              14https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10598670/

                                15https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9504660/

                                  16https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/what-is-a-fake-olive-oil

                                    17https://www.internationaloliveoil.org/olive-world/olive-oil/#frying

                                      18https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1155/2021/7319013

                                        19https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814615006810?via%3Dihub

                                          20https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/cooking-and-antioxidants-evoo-can-take-the-heat

                                            21https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8199595/

                                            Our Top Choice For 2024
                                            50% off + First Box Ships Free + 20% Off For 2 Months
                                            Enjoy Our Exclusive Offer
                                            X
                                            We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
                                            OUR MISSION
                                            We bring you the facts about the top meal delivery services today based on your diet, city, and lifestyle. From ordering meals, to canceling subscriptions, we’ve got you covered.
                                            Follow Us
                                            Ⓒ 2024 DeliveryRank.com
                                            All Rights Reserved