Why Nutritionists Rate Olive Oil As The Healthiest Cooking Oil
Updated April 29th 2022
Cooking oils are an important part of any healthy diet. Some people prefer to use olive oil when cooking because they believe it is the healthiest option available. But is this really true? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using an extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold as your go-to cooking oil.
- Healthier Nutrition Starts with the Best Olive Oil For Cooking
- When Can Cooking Oils Become Unhealthy?
- Can You Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil Smoke Point
- Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Uses
- Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Great For Cakes
- How To Choose The Best Olive Oil For Cooking
Healthier Nutrition Starts With The Best Olive Oil For Cooking
We loved this article from katiecouric.com which breaks down the healthiest cooking oils and how to avoid the issue of oils becoming toxic during the cooking process.
As explained by Katiecouric, making the smallest changes to your eating habits can make a big difference to your health – so what better place to start than when choosing the type of oil you cook with.
Even we know that extra virgin olive oil is not the only choice out there – other healthy options can include coconut oil and avocado oil – both of which are very popular.
Sometimes making even the smallest changes can make a difference when it comes to your health, and that could be as simple as mixing up the type of oil you’re using while you’re cooking. After all, there’s no shortage of healthy options, ranging from coconut and avocado to olive oil.
However, it’s worth being aware of the potentially detrimental effect on your health that some oils can have when they reach certain temperatures.
According board-certified nutritionist Mia Rigden and nutritional psychiatrist Uma Naidoo, M.D, it’s generally safer to use unrefined rather than refined cooking oils because they’re less processed and have fewer added chemicals.
“If you keep unrefined olive oil and avocado oil in your pantry, you should be able to make everything that you want and get the flavor you want.”
When Can Cooking Oils Become Unhealthy?
If you aren’t a fan of avocado or olive oil, then don’t worry, you still have several options. Dr. Naidoo recommends flaxseed, walnut, and pumpkin seed oils, but she cautions against using these when cooking at high temperatures because they can actually be bad for your health.
“When certain oils reach a smoke point, they can actually become more toxic because of the byproducts from that higher heat cooking, and those substances can be damaging to the body,” she explains. “They can even be, in certain instances, carcinogenic.”
Coconut oil, on the other hand, is a safer alternative and especially ideal for frying, though there’s some debate around whether its high saturated fat content makes it a healthy option.
Though this can vary widely on how they’re processed, these are the other plant oils to be careful of:
- Soybean oil
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Sesame oil
- Peanut oil
If these sound familiar, it’s likely because they’re often blended and sold under the name “vegetable oil.” Dr. Naidoo also recommends steering clear of using this highly processed oil for the same reason: It can create an unhealthy imbalance in your omega-3s to omega-6 ratio.
Can You Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Olive oil is an integral part of cooking in cuisines all over the world. It’s incredible at absorbing and carrying other flavours, as well as teasing out and amplifying the taste of other ingredients that are cooked in it. Almost all recipes these days begin by drizzling oil into a pan, and invariably they call for olive oil – that quintessential Mediterranean ingredient which is fruity, peppery, complex and rich all at once.
For whatever reason, however, many home cooks believe extra virgin olive oil (the cold-pressed, higher quality, more flavourful oil) should only be used in its raw state or for finishing dishes. The myth that heating or cooking with extra virgin olive oil destroys its flavour or makes it unhealthy has been floating around for years now, but there’s no real evidence behind the belief.
To understand the potential of extra virgin olive oil for cooking and as a core ingredient in a rich and varied diet, we need look no further than kitchens and traditions of The Mediterranean. With its emphasis on vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, The Mediterranean Diet has reach something of celebrity status across the world for decades now. But just how can I incorporate a high quality extra virgin olive oil in to my own cooking habits?
Possibly one of the most basic questions to start with and the answer is a simple YES! Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is incredibly versatile, to have on its own also as an excellent cooking medium and a flavouring ingredient. It is becoming more and more popular as a dressing for salads and pasta, for finishing cooked dishes and for dipping with bread and raw vegetables before a meal.
High quality extra virgin olive oils like Morocco Gold are also like fine wines. They are the product of the type of olive, the soil conditions in which the olives grow, the climate and the time the olives are harvested and pressed. This means there are a whole range of flavour profiles.
It’s so versatile that you can use it in both savoury and sweet dishes, so why don’t you try baking with it, as well as cooking? It’s actually a healthier option than butter so if that’s a concern for you this January, try it instead in your homemade cakes and biscuits, and see what you think.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Smoke Point
The ‘smoke point’ of an oil is the temperature at which it starts to smoke and break down and produce potentially harmful free radicals. Contrary to some beliefs, however, high quality extra virgin olive oil such as Morocco Gold is a great choice for many cooking methods as its smoke point is somewhere around 374 – 405 °F (190–207°C). As explained by the Olive Wellness Institute, Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains high levels of natural antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the naturally stable oil when heated, making Extra Virgin Olive Oil a very health option to cook with.
Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Uses
The particular characteristics of Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil, with its distinctive green fruitiness, hints of almond and herbs, fresh turf and the peppery aftertaste, gives a vibrant, well balanced finish. This means using our olive oil is easy as it can be used in a variety of ways. Here are just a few uses.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil On Salads
A splash of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil mixed with vinaigrette makes salads super healthy and taste delicious. Taking care of the microbes in our guts is one of the best ways to keep our digestive system working well and protect our immune system. That means packing as many fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and Mediterranean staples like Extra Virgin Olive Oil into our cooking as we can. Our salad bowl is a perfect tonic for the digestive system.
Recent studies have shown that people who ate diets rich in plant-based foods and fish – akin to the famous Mediterranean diet – had higher collections of inflammation fighting bacteria in their guts.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Perfect As A Simple Dip
Having friends over, or fancy an evening dining Al Fresco? Using extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold as a dip for crispy, fresh bread is a great way to get the taste buds going. Using extra virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold as a dip for crispy, fresh bread is a great way to get the taste buds going.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil With Soups
We all have our favourite go-to soup recipe. For some of us this means a heart-warming chicken broth to hug in the winter months or a cold soup packed with refreshing seasonal flavours to cool you down all summer long.
But did you know that a simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over your soup can make all the difference. You don’t need much to seek the benefits. It adds a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the hot soup and a special richness. Why not check out this Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Vegetarian Split Pea Soup today?
Roasting With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Not only does Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil help food to cook it also adds a premium, tasty addition to the dish. High quality extra virgin olive oil also has the unique ability to draw out and accentuate the taste of whatever you are preparing.
Remember that heat brings out the flavour of extra virgin olive oil and so it will smell stronger when it is poured over hot food and its specific flavour characteristics will be more pronounced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil With Ice Cream
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over your ice cream really helps bring out the flavour in the ice cream and adds to the creamy texture. One to try out for sure! Who’d have thought it!
Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Great For Cakes?
When it comes to baking, most of us assume we need certain staple ingredients, including flour, eggs and butter. However, more and more recipes are emerging that use good-quality Moroccan olive oil instead, resulting in super moist and absolutely delicious cakes.
Here’s why many of us are swapping butter for olive oil in our favourite bakes – and why you might too.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Healthier
One of the reasons why people might prefer baking with extra virgin olive oil is because it is more nutritious than butter, which is high in saturated fat.
In comparison, extra virgin olive oil is high in mono-saturated fat, which includes antioxidants to protect our cells and vitamin E. Therefore, it is a healthier choice, as it has been shown to ease inflammation and lower the risk of developing heart disease.
Baking with it also reduces the amount of saturated fat you would otherwise consume, which raises cholesterol levels.
The Best Olive Oil Has The Best Flavour
While you might think something bland or mild would be better in a cake or biscuit, having a strong flavour actually works in olive oil’s favour when it comes to baking.
This is because it can actually taste delicious in baked goods, adding to, instead of distracting from, the overall flavour of the pudding.
The strength of extra virgin olive oil you choose will depend on what you are baking, with All Recipes suggesting using a mild variety for cakes, muffins and cookies, as this will give the dessert a “fruity note without [being] overpowering”.
However, you can go for a stronger type for rich puddings, such as brownies or flourless cakes.
It is known to enhance the flavour of chocolate, nuts, spices and fruit, so don’t be afraid to substitute it when the recipe calls for melted butter.
According to Fine Cooking, its perfect match is a cake or bake that contains fruit or nuts, such as carrot cake or pumpkin bread.
“The extra virgin olive oil gives it a rich moistness and depth that enhances the warm spices and mingles perfectly with the essence of honey and the pumpkin seed topping,” Ellie Kiriger wrote, adding: “It’s an American favourite with a Mediterranean flair – a perfect package of taste and health.”
The Best Olive Oil Gives Moistness To Your Baking
That brings us on to the next advantage of using extra virgin olive oil in baked goods – it makes them deliciously moist.
This is thought to be due to the vitamin E content found in extra virgin olive oil, which also helps to keep bakes fresher for longer. Indeed, while traditional cakes tend to go dry after a couple of days, those with olive oil typically stay squidgy far beyond this.
As olive oil cakes are known for their moistness, they lend themselves particularly well to bakes like carrot cake, orange cake, banana bread, lemon drizzle cake, and many other puddings that have a fruit or nut content.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Great In Chocolate Cakes
Something that may surprise you is the relationship olive oil has with chocolate, particularly as the fat can have a slightly savoury flavour to it.
Despite this – or perhaps because of it – putting olive oil in chocolate cake recipes works brilliantly, giving it a rich flavour and moist texture that is difficult to replicate with butter.
As a result, there is a plethora of chocolate olive oil cake recipes available these days, including one from cookbook author and TV star Nigella Lawson.
In Nigellisima, she wrote: “Although I first came up with this recipe because I had someone coming for supper who – genuinely – couldn’t eat wheat or dairy, it is so meltingly good, I now make it all the time for those whose life and diet are not so unfairly constrained, myself included.”
The cake calls for ground almonds, vanilla extract, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar, and eggs, as well as cocoa powder and olive oil. She recommends accompanying this delicious-sounding bake with raspberries as well as mascarpone or ice-cream.
A great advantage of eating a chocolate cake made with Extra Virgin olive oil, in addition to the flavour, is that a study has shown the combination of dark chocolate and extra virgin olive oil could improve heart health.
Research from the University of Pisa, published in Science Daily, revealed the two ingredients could reduce the risk of developing any cardiovascular conditions when eaten together. Dr Rossella Di Stefano, who led the study, said: “We found that small daily portions of dark chocolate with added natural polyphenols from extra virgin olive oil was associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile.”
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Vegan Friendly
Another great incentive to swap butter for olive oil is that you can make your favourite puddings vegan by removing the dairy content and swapping eggs for another ingredient.
It is also a good option for those with a dairy intolerance, allowing your loved ones to continue to enjoy delicious treats without suffering an adverse reaction to it.
For great olive oil cake recipes, take a look here.
How To Choose The Best Olive Oil For Cooking
It’s fairly well known that olive oil is considered to be good for both your health and well-being. But with so many different varieties of olive oil on the market, each with its own properties, acidity levels, and oleic acid content, which one do you use, and for what purpose?
Extra virgin olive oil is considered the highest grade and the best quality olive oil. It is extracted from fresh olives harvested not more than a day ago. The process doesn’t use excessive heat, chemicals or mechanisms during the extraction. Extra virgin contains an acidity quotient of less than 0.8 per cent, and ‘premium’ extra virgin less than 0.3 per cent.
It is full of flavour, and best used to drizzle over salads, meats, breads, and ideal for light cooking such as sautéing and stir frying.
Virgin olive oil can be categorised as fine virgin (acidity less than 1.5 per cent), semi-fine virgin (3.3 per cent), and virgin (2 per cent). It is also extracted from fresh olives, but with a less intense flavour and intensity than extra virgin. It is perfect for baking, roasting, and shallow frying.
Pure olive oil is of a lower quality of the virgin category, because of the oleic acid levels of around 4 per cent. It uses heat in the extracting process, which may cause impurities in the oil. It can be used for conventional cooking purposes, stir fries to deep frying, but it isn’t advisable to be consumed uncooked, for example, drizzled over salad.
Refined Olive Oil refers to olive oils that have gone through a refining process, using heat and chemicals to extract the residual oil that has been left after the first extraction. The acidic content is higher than recommended, and the oil is also fattier and not as flavoursome.
While it isn’t recommended when compared to its counterparts, it can be used for deep-frying, as this is when it remains most stable.
Recently, the extraction waste products have been used as a biofuel in Spain, with olive pomace, vine shoots, olive leaves, and agricultural remains acting as its primary fuel.
For the very best Moroccan extra virgin olive oil, visit us today.