Contrary to what you may have heard, Olive Oil does not lose its health benefits and become unhealthy when heated.
Olive Oil is also used in cooking for thousands upon thousands of years. It is the foundation of Mediterranean Diet. You might wonder, then, why Olive Oil shouldn't be used for cooking? Olive Oil's health benefits will be lost if heated. This is a common belief. This is false. The main health benefit of olive oil is its fat content. Olive Oil is a monounsaturated fat. The oil's fat composition will not be affected by cooking with it. The percentage of olive oil that is monounsaturated remains constant after heating at high temperatures.
The American Heart Association states that monounsaturated fats can reduce bad cholesterol in your blood, which can lower your risk of developing heart disease or stroke. They also help to develop and sustain your cells.
Every olive oil, Extra Virgin, refined, heated, or raw, contains a similar amount of monounsaturated fat.
What about Trans Fats on Olive Oil?
When cooking oils are heated, they can form small amounts trans fats. The concentration of trans fats in cooking oils is very low, less than 1% even after prolonged heating.
Smoke Point For Olive Oil
If heated beyond the smoke point, all oils will be unhealthy. Stovetop cooking is usually around 350oF. The smoke point for Extra Virgin Olive Oil is usually 350-410°F. While the smoke point for Olive Oil or light-tasting Olive Oil typically hovers around 390- 468°F.
It is very unlikely that Olive Oil will reach its smoke point with the usual cooking methods. It is possible to cook food with Olive Oil. Our Olive Oil experts recommend that you exercise caution when cooking to prevent food from being burned.
Carcinogens and Other Toxic Compounds
Toxic compounds can be formed if oil is heated beyond its smoke point. Olive Oil is rich in antioxidants and phenols, which prevents it from forming toxic compounds by heating.
A 2004 study was done to determine the aldehydes produced by heating Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Olive Oil, and Canola Oil to 464°F. It was found that extra virgin olive oil and regular olive oil were both healthier than canola oils.
When heated, unsaturated fats can oxidize. Olive Oil is scientifically proven to resist oxidation upon heating. Canola and other polyunsaturated oils are significantly more likely to oxidize than the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil.
Olive Oil is a good oil to use for cooking, but it's not recommended because the heat will destroy the phenols. The phenols found in olive oil can be sensitive to heat. Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be used to cook, but the phenols will still get into the food. Extra Virgin Olive Oil potatoes contained more antioxidants and phenols than potatoes that were boiled in water.
How about the taste of olive oil?
Olive Oil's flavor compounds are delicate and will lose their taste if heated. Heating olive oil will not affect its health benefits, but it will cause the oil to lose its flavor.
Olive Oil can be used to make delicious and healthy dishes. Olive Oil can be heated to preserve its health benefits and make it less nutritious.