FAQ About Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Updated July 16th 2024


  • Most recipes simply call for olive oil, yet the grocery store shelf offers an array of options, from extra virgin olive oil to pure, and even light olive oil.
  • Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about extra virgin olive oil.


  1. What is the difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil?
  2. Why it is called extra virgin olive oil?
  3. Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Good for Your Health?
  4. Which extra virgin olive oil is best?
  5. Can I use extra virgin olive oil for cooking?
  6. Which olive oil is best for skin?
  7. What is the healthiest oil to cook with?
  8. Is extra virgin olive oil good for constipation?
  9. What is the healthiest olive oil?

What is the difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil?

Extra-virgin olive oil is made from pure, cold-pressed olives, whereas regular olive oil is a blend, including both cold-pressed and processed oils. Any cold-pressed oil that doesn’t meet extra-virgin standards is then refined to get rid of undesirable impurities, giving the oil a more neutral flavour and lighter colour.

Below is an in-depth analysis:

Extra virgin olive oil:

  • Production: Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is made exclusively from pure, cold-pressed olives. The extraction process involves mechanically pressing the olives without the use of heat or chemicals. This method preserves the natural flavours, aromas, and nutritional qualities of the olives.
  • Quality: EVOO is considered the highest quality olive oil available. It must meet strict standards, including low acidity levels (less than 0.8%) and no sensory defects. These standards ensure that the oil retains the natural flavours and health benefits of the olives.
  • Flavour: Extra virgin olive oil has a rich, robust flavour profile that can vary depending on the type of olives used and the region they come from. It typically has a fruity, peppery, or grassy taste, with a distinctive olive flavour that stands out in culinary applications.
  • Colour: The colour of EVOO can range from deep green to golden, depending on the olives and their ripeness at the time of pressing. The vibrant colour is a sign of the oil’s high quality and rich content of natural pigments and antioxidants.
  • Nutritional Value: Extra virgin olive oil is packed with natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It contains high levels of polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The minimal processing ensures that these beneficial compounds are preserved, making EVOO a healthy choice for cooking and dressing.

Regular Olive Oil:

  • Production: Regular olive oil is a blend of cold-pressed and processed oils. Olives that do not meet the stringent standards for extra virgin quality are refined using heat and chemicals to remove impurities and undesirable flavours. This refined oil is then mixed with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil to enhance its flavour.
  • Quality: The quality of regular olive oil is lower than that of extra virgin olive oil. It can have higher acidity levels (up to 1.5%) and may lack the complex flavour profile of EVOO. The refining process removes many of the natural flavours and beneficial compounds found in pure olive oil.
  • Flavour: Regular olive oil has a more neutral and milder taste compared to EVOO. The refining process strips away much of the natural olive flavour, resulting in an oil that is less robust and more suitable for general cooking purposes where a strong olive taste is not desired.
  • Colour: The colour of regular olive oil is typically lighter, often a pale yellow. The refining process removes some of the natural pigments, resulting in a less vibrant appearance.
  • Nutritional Value: The nutritional value of regular olive oil is somewhat reduced due to the refining process. While it still contains healthy fats and some vitamins, it lacks the higher levels of antioxidants and polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil. Nevertheless, it remains a healthier option compared to many other cooking oils, such as vegetable or canola oil.

Why is it called extra virgin olive oil?

Virgin Olive Oil. Virgin means the oil was made by simply pressing olives. It didn’t undergo any of the industrial processes used to make ‘refined’ oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean and the lower grades of olive oil labelled ‘Pure,’ ‘Light,’ and simply ‘Olive Oil.’

Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Good for Your Health?

The FDA says eating 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil a day may reduce the risk of heart disease, due to its monounsaturated fat content. Extra virgin olive oil also contains polyphenols which act as antioxidants, reducing the oxidative stress throughout your body.

Which extra virgin olive oil is best?

When looking for the best extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) with high polyphenol content, several brands stand out due to their exceptional quality and health benefits.

Morocco Gold: This Moroccan EVOO is made from Picholine Moroccan olives, offering a polyphenol content of 626 mg/kg. The olives are handpicked and cold-pressed within 24 hours to ensure maximum freshness and quality. This oil is well-regarded for its high antioxidant content and rich taste​.

These oils are not only rich in polyphenols but also offer a variety of flavours and aromas that can enhance your culinary experience while providing significant health benefits. For best results, it’s recommended to consume about two tablespoons of high polyphenol EVOO per day​.

Can I use extra virgin olive oil for cooking?

Yes, it’s true, you can cook with extra virgin olive oil! Our versatile extra virgin olive oil is perfect for cooking, frying, sautéing, poaching, dressing and baking. It is a heart-healthy fat, high in polyphenols, that lends a little extra something special to your favourite dishes. Just be mindful that it has a lower smoke point compared to other oils, so it’s best used at medium to low cooking temperatures to maintain its flavour and health benefits.

Which olive oil is best for skin?

The best olive oil for skin and hair is definitely extra virgin olive oil. It is the most expensive type, but for good reasons. This unrefined olive oil has the lowest acidity level and is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, making it highly beneficial for both skin and hair health.

What is the healthiest oil to cook with?

“Olive oil is my favourite,” says Sara Haas, RD, LDN, a chef in Chicago and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her endorsement highlights the broad acceptance of EVOO among nutrition professionals for its health benefits and culinary versatility.

Is extra virgin olive oil good for constipation?

The fats in olive oil can lubricate the inside of the bowels, facilitating easier passage of stools. Additionally, it can help stools retain more water, keeping them softer. Consuming one tablespoon of olive oil on an empty stomach in the morning may alleviate constipation for many healthy adults.

What is the healthiest olive oil?

One of the few fats widely regarded as healthy is extra virgin olive oil. This oil, integral to the Mediterranean diet, is a traditional fat and a dietary staple for some of the world’s healthiest populations.

Extra virgin olive oil is made by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil without the use of heat or chemicals, preserving its natural nutrients. It is rich in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, extra virgin olive oil contains significant amounts of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and polyphenols, which contribute to its numerous health benefits.

Research indicates that extra virgin olive oil can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, by improving cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure. It has also been associated with a lower risk of stroke, due to its ability to protect the blood vessels and enhance blood flow.

Extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants that may provide protection against specific types of cancer by counteracting free radicals and decreasing oxidative stress. Additionally, the oil’s anti-inflammatory characteristics can assist in the management of conditions such as arthritis, supporting joint health and alleviating pain.