1. Know that Only Extra Virgin Olive Oils are Good for Your Health

The extent to which refined oil are unhealthy depends on their manufacturing process, but refined oils are never healthy. By refining oil by-products are created (e.g.; PAHs), natural structures change (e.g. cis to trans) and essential healthy substances such as Vitamin D, lecithin, chlorophyll, oleocanthal are removed to some extent (depending on the refining process).

Olive trees that have lots of space.

Olive trees that have lots of space.

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2. No Harmful Substances are Released During the Cold Pressing of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Much of the quality of the oil depends on the way it is pressed. When cold-pressed with respect, no harmful substances are released, creating a healthy and pure olive oil.

Green olive with a drop of water hanging in a tree

An olive that has the time to ripen.

3. There are Strict European Legislations for Olive Oil and their Quality Grades

Extra Virgin is a European protected name that may only be used for the most natural and qualitative olive oil. The legislation states, for example, that no heat should be used during the pressing process and the temperature should not exceed 28°C. Furthermore, the oil should only be mechanically cold-pressed and the free fatty acids (harmful fatty acids) should not exceed 0.8%. In regular (non-extra virgin) olive oil the percentage of free fatty acids may be up to 2%.

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Olives fall from the tree themselves when they are ripe and caught by nets

When the olives are ripe, they are collected.

4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil is Perfect for Heating Once

Most olive oils may be heated up to 140°C to 160°C. But the Amanprana Verde Salud, for example, can be heated up to 180°C.

At higher temperatures, toxic substances, both in extra virgin and in refined oils are released. Therefore, in general, we recommend never heating, both food and oil, above 170°C.

Olive oil and extra virgin olive oil are less suitable for heating several times because of their fatty acids profile. The oil does not contain enough saturated fat, but a lot of omega-9 and a little of omega-6. The latter are less stable when heated, but are perfect to be heated only once.

Black olives in a wooden tray with a wooden spoon

Fresh olives on the market.

5. Regular Olive Oil? It’s Not Healthy

When extra virgin oil is pressed, a ‘cake’ of olives remains. This ‘olive cake’ is left to rest for a while and starts to oxidize. Afterwards this cake is used to make the so-called ‘regular’ olive oil or mild olive oil. This is usually done with the help of chemical solvents that people hope are no longer present in the final product. Because the product yielded from this cake and chemical solvents is so bad, it has to be further refined.

6. Harmful Substances When Heating Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra virgin olive oil is and may legally only be filtered mechanically, with exception of the decantation process. Decantation? Olive oil is stored in tanks. Over time, the small olive particles still present sink to the bottom of the tank. When the bottles are filled, it is done above the layer of sediment that has settled at the bottom in order to prevent this sediment or little pieces from being poured into the olive oil bottles as well. The result? A pure oil.

Some extra virgin olive oils do not undergo this filtering or decantation process. They are a little bit healthier but slightly less suitable for heating. This is because the miniscule particles or sediment of olives may burn very quickly and possibly release harmful substances when heated. This is something to consider, even with extra virgin olive oils such as Amanprana’s Hermanos Catalan, but even then… A ‘decantation’ process also occurs naturally within a bottle of olive oil as gravity sets in. And those few particles of olive that remain will settle at the bottom of the bottle.

With regular or mild olive oil (which is a misleading name for refined olive oil), these few small particles have mostly been refined. But this is certainly not a reason to choose regular olive oil over extra virgin olive oil. The minimal advantage of fewer particles, and therefore increased suitability for heating, does not outweigh the many disadvantages of refined oil. Even if you do not heat regular olive oil, it is still unhealthy.

For your health, it is always better to choose extra virgin. For both cold and warm dishes.

Never be fooled by the fact that refined oils, such as regular oil or so-called mild oil, appear healthier.