Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the latest update

The skinny on why this oil is a stellar performer for your health

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the fresh juice that is squeezed directly from the olive fruit. The better the quality of the olive fruit, and faster the juice is squeezed, the higher the quality of the oil produced. The higher the quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the healthier and tastier it is
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil is natural and not refined or extracted using chemicals or heat, leaving it high in natural antioxidants and healthy fats which are beneficial for health.
  • The main difference between Extra Virgin Olive Oil and other olive oils is how the oil is extracted from the olives. It is important to note that other olive oils (such as olive oil refined blends, light olive oil) are usually extracted using chemicals and heat and therefore do not have the same health benefits and flavour as Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil good for health?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the main source of fat in a Mediterranean style diet. There is a body of established research showing a Mediterranean style diet is good for health, for example:

  • Weight control – Evidence shows that people who consume a Mediterranean style diet usually have a lower body weight and are able to maintain it for longer(1-8).
  • Heart health – the high levels of antioxidants found in Extra Virgin olive oil can help to prevent and reduce diseases associated with the heart and blood vessels(9-26).

Tips for choosing high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

  • Extra Virgin” – make sure you look for products clearly labelled “Extra Virgin” any other name means to products is not the real deal
  • Cold pressed – Choose an Extra Virgin Olive Oil which has been cold pressed within 4–6 hours of harvesting the olives as this will usually be a better quality product. Choose an oil that has been produced using the first press for a better quality oil with a richer flavour.
  • Freshly harvested and bottled – Olive oil is best used within 12–14 months from the time of harvest. Australian olive oils are harvested between March and June each year. Look for the harvest date on the front or side of pack to ensure you are buying the freshest and heathiest oil.
  • Buy Australia grown – Locally grown Australian oil is often fresher than imported, as the oils don’t have to travel so far to reach your homes and can be freshly packed before arriving at your local store. Fresher, higher quality Extra Virgin Olive Oils taste great and are better for you, so choose Australian grown products.
  • Standards– You can check if the oil you are buying is certified by meeting the Extra Virgin grade requirements, look for the Australian Olive Association symbol on pack:

Top Tip – Once opened, use oil within 4–6 weeks to ensure it has the best flavour and health benefits.

How to include Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the diet

  •  Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a delicious addition to salads, raw or roasted vegetables or pasta – in fact, adding some Extra Virgin Olive Oil to vegetables will usually make them taste better, so you may eat more of them!
  • You can cook with Extra Virgin olive oil at standard cooking temperatures (120°C–200°C). High quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a reasonably high smoke point, around 200°C –210°C.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil can also be used in baking to replace butter or other oils. Choose a mild flavoured variant when baking sweets for a seamless substitution.

 

Please see an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) for tailored nutrition advice about Extra Virgin Olive Oil and other cooking oils.

 

See also information on Coconut Oil Fast Facts.

 

References:

  1. Benitez-Arciniega, A. D., D. Gomez-Ulloa, et al. “Olive oil consumption, BMI, and risk of obesity in Spanish adults.” Obesity Facts 5(1): 52-9.
  2. Bes-Rastrollo M, Sanchez-Villegas A, de la Fuente C, de Irala J, Martinez JA, Martinez- Gonzalez MA. (2006). “Olive oil consumption and weight change: the SUN prospective cohort study.” Lipids 41: 249–56.
  3. Freedland, S. J. and W. J. Aronson (2009). “Re: Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet.” European Urology 55(1): 249-250.
  4. Haro-Mora, J. J., E. Garcia-Escobar, et al. (2011). “Children whose diet contained olive oil had a lower likelihood of increasing their body mass index Z-score over 1 year.” European Journal of Endocrinology. 165(3): 435-9.
  5. Panagiotakos, D. B., et al. (2006). “Association between the prevalence of obesity and adherence to the Mediterranean diet: the ATTICA study.” Nutrition 22(5): 449-456.
  6. Perez-Martinez, P., et al. (2011). “Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil and obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes mellitus.” Current Pharmaceutical Design 17(8): 769-777.
  7. Panagiotakos, D. B., et al. (2006). “Association between the prevalence of obesity and adherence to the Mediterranean diet: the ATTICA study.” Nutrition 22(5): 449-456.
  8. Perez-Martinez, P., et al. (2011). “Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil and obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes mellitus.” Current Pharmaceutical Design 17(8): 769-777.
  9. Waterman E, Lockwood B. Active components and clinical applications of olive oil. Alternat Med Rev 2007;12(4):331–42.
  10. Covas M-I, Ruiz-Gutierrez V, de la Torre R, et al. Minor components of olive oil: evidence to date of health benefits in humans. Nutr Rev 2006;64:S20–S30.
  11. Caramia G, Gori A, Valli E, et al. Virgin olive oil in preventive medicine: from legend to epigenetics. Eur J Lipid Sc Technol 2012;114:375–88.
  12. Covas MI, Nyyssonen K, Poulsen HE, et al. The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2006;145:333–41.
  13. Martin-Pelaez S, Covas M, Fito M,et al. Health effects of olive oil polyphenols: recent advances and possibilities for the use of health claims. Mol Nutr Food Res 2013;57:760–71.
  14. Marrugat J, Covas M, Fito M, et al. Effects of differing phenolic content in dietary olive oils on lipids and LDL oxidation. Eur J Nutr 2004;43:140–7.
  15. Harwood J, Yaqoob P. Nutritional and health aspects of olive oil. Eur J Lipid Sci Thecnol 2002;104:685–97.
  16. Sadler MJ. Food nutrients and food ingredients with authorised EU health claims. 1st ed. United Kingdom: Woodhead Publishing; 2014.
  17. Perez-Jimenez F, Ruano F, Perez-Martinez P, et al. The influence of olive oil on human health: not a question of fat alone. Mol Nutr Food Res 2007;51:1199–1208.
  18. Mensink R, Zock P. Kester L,et al. Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77:1146–55.
  19. Ferrara, L, Raimondi AS, d’Episcopo L, et al. Olive oil and reduced need for antihypertensive medications. Arch Intern Med 2000;160(6): 837–42.
  20. Perona J, Canizares J, Montero E, et al. Virgin olive oil reduces blood pressure in hypertensive elderly subjects. Clin Nutr 2004;23:1113–21.
  21. Monero-Luna R, Munoz-Hernandez R, Miranda M, et al. Olive oil polyphenols decrease blood pressure and improve endothelial function in young women with mild hypertension. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;25(12):1299–304.
  22. Lee C, Barnett J, Reaven P. Liposomes enriched in oleic acid are less susceptible to oxidation and have less proinflammatory activity when exposed to oxidizing conditions. J Lipid Res 1998;39:1239–47.
  23. Fiedor J, Burda K. Potential role of carotenoids as antioxidants in human health and disease. Nutrients 2014;6(2):466–88.
  24. Schwingshackl L and Hoffman G. Monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lipids Health Dis 2014;13:154–169.
  25. Martinez-Gonzalez M, Dominguez L, Delgado-Rodriguez M. Olive oil consumption and CHD and/or stroke: a meta-analysis of case-control, cohort and intervention studies. Br J Nutr 2014;112:248–59.
  26. Covas M, Nyyssonen K, Poulsen H, et al. The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2006;145(5):333–41.