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Myths about Olive Oil

Posted by Paloma Barreno on

True or false?

Some customers ask us if they must cook with olive oil. Other customers tell us that is unhealthy using olive oil in cooking or frying.

One of the most common myths you can find on the Internet is that while olive oil is healthy, it should not be used for cooking or frying. The belief is that somehow the high heat used in cooking or frying makes olive oil unhealthy. However, this belief is not consistent with historical uses of olive oil in Mediterranean cuisine, nor with a wide body of published research.

Spanish and Italian people know that it is not true. We have grown with our moms and grandmothers cooking for us with olive oil, every day. Italy and Spain are the European countries where longevity is higher, according to the WHO (World Health Organization).

Olive oil is not only safe for cooking, but it is recommended by scientists for high-temperature frying! 

Why the stability of cooking oils is important?

When fats and oils are exposed to high heat, they can become damaged.This is particularly true of oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats, including most vegetable oils like soybean and canola. But olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which are stable when heated.

A study reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry tested the effects of continuously heating virgin olive oil for 36 hours to measure how the oil degraded. The scientists reported: “Two monovarietal extra virgin olive oils from Arbequina and Picual cultivars were subjected to heating at 180 degrees C (356 degrees F) for 36 h. Oxidation progress was monitored by measuring oil quality changes, fatty acid composition, and minor compound content. … From these results, we can conclude that despite the heating conditions, EVOO maintained most of its minor compounds and, therefore, most of its nutritional properties.”

The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) provides information about the maximum temperature that can be used when cooking with virgin olive oil. “When heated, olive oil is the most stable fat, which means it stands up well to high frying temperatures. Its high smoke point (410ºF) 210ºC is well above the ideal temperature for frying food (356ºF) 180ºC. The digestibility of olive oil is not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used several times for frying.”

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is High in Antioxidants and Vitamin E, Which Help Fight Oxidation

The only olive oil really worthy of consideration is extra-virgin. Anything else has been heavily refined into a pallid, flavorless substance to which a little extra-virgin oil is added for color and flavor. It’s an industrial product, made to industrial standards. 

The EVOO is a pure juice extracted directly from the olive through a complex process involving the environment decisively. It may have been filtered, but it has not been refined. Because it is not standardized, extra-virgin varies enormously in aroma and flavor from bottle to bottle, producer to producer. The taste depends on many factors, from the variety of the olives pressed to their state of maturity to the speed and care with which they’ve been processed.

Olive oil is an essential ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine and consequently in traditional Spanish and Italian cuisine which is a blend of Roman, Christian, Arabic and Jewish influences. And olive oils have gained admittance into avant-garde Spanish cuisine where they are being featured in creative partnerships and unusual transformations. In the hands of Ferrán Adrià, Dani García, Paco Roncero or José Andrés, extra virgin olive oil is being presented in new original ways and textures, often as the centerpiece of innovative recipes.

We recommend this article to guide you to the really good stuff. 

Medineterranean is so proud to offer a careful and really good selection of Italian and Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oils. Just taste them, and love them.

 

References:

“How heating affects extra virgin olive oil quality indexes and chemical composition,” Y. Allouche, A. Jiménez, J. J. Gaforio, M. Uceda, G. Beltrán, J Agric Food Chem, 2007 Nov 14;55(23):9646-54. Epub 2007 Oct 13, PMID: 17935291 

“Frying with Olive Oil,” International Olive Oil Council, http://www.internationaloliveoil.org/estaticos/view/85-frying-with-olive-oil,” - See more at: http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/myth-buster-olive-oil-is-one-of-the-safest-oils-for-frying-and-cooking/#sthash.4Go5Xn45.dpuf

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