ABOUT OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is the liquid fat, or natural oil obtained from pressing whole olives. Different olives, from different countries, will each give the oil a different taste – some quite mild, and others quite peppery or bitter.
Different processing techniques will result in olive oils of different ‘grades’ – refined and unrefined.
Unrefined oils are pure and untreated, meaning that no chemicals or heat have been used in the extraction process, resulting in a purer oil with a stronger taste. Refined oils have been treated to remove any flaws and are usually lighter in colour and milder in taste.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Most Popular Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is an unrefined oil made from pure cold-pressed olives and is usually more expensive, as it’s deemed the highest quality, it has a stronger flavour and it is typically darker in colour compared to other olive oils.
Other, regular or light, olive oils are usually a blend of both cold-pressed and processed oils.
UNFILTERED EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
The finest olive oil
When it comes to the benefits of unfiltered olive oil, there are numerous. Talking from the health perspective, unfiltered olive oil is rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and zero dietary cholesterol.
Filtering the oil removes the suspended solids, resulting in a clearer appearance. But it might also remove some healthy phenolic compounds and actually decrease the shelf life of the oil, depending on the type of filter used.
These phenolic compounds are perfect for preventing various heart diseases, maintaining healthy body weight and in providing a balanced nutrition for the human body. From the oil stability perspective, various phenolic compounds can contribute to the oil stability in unfiltered oils.
Lots of chefs find that unfiltered extra virgin olive oil is richer in taste, aroma and pure fruit flavour.
A question a lot of our customers ask, is it better to buy unfiltered olive oil and is it cost effective?
The answer is yes. If you are buying from an authentic olive oil company, then you should have no worries. Unfiltered olive oil is richer in minerals, antioxidants, aroma and flavour than filtered one. It is definitely economical to invest in something that has enormous health benefits.
Andalucian Olive Company only sell the highest quality olive oils. We sell olive oils that are harvested in Andalucia Spain, if it is unfiltered or any other type of extra virgin olive oil, you are guaranteed to get only finest olive oils.
CHOOSING THE BEST OLIVE OIL
Make an Informed Choice
That’s, easy right? But here’s the thing: Not all olive oils are created equal. It turns out that there’s a lot to know about selecting and buying the best oil. The good news is if you can’t taste it first, getting a quality oil really just comes down to being able to read and understand the label.
Always Read the Label
The first thing we look for would be country of origin, to qualify as extra virgin olive oil, the highest grade, the oil has to pass lab analysis and sensory tests set by the Madrid-based International Olive Council. However, there is still room for deception along the production chain, as olive oil extracted in one country is often shipped to another, usually Italy, and then blended with olive oils from yet other places before being bottled and shipped off again. We highly recommend when choosing a quality olive oil at a minimum make sure that the olive oil is coming from the same country, check the label as blended extra virgin olive oil could be blended with oils from many countries, this could mean buying the cheapest olives from anywhere in the world but selling the product as Italian blended olive oil because it was bottled there. All our olives come from our own farm and by working with a cooperative of local farmers in our area, we do not purchase any olives from outside of the Andalucia region, this allows us to have consistency in the quality and taste of our oils. If you want to buy a true Spanish olive oil from Spain, then the olives must be grown and pressed in Spain.
Always check the label for the acidity level of the olive oil you are purchasing, a low acidity level means there is the highest proportion of polyphenols which are the antioxidants in the olive oil that are so beneficial to people’s health. For olive oil to be classified as extra virgin olive oil the acidity level must be less than 0.8%. Our extra virgin olive oil, the acidity is only 0.3% guaranteeing a superior extra virgin olive oil with all the health benefits still in the oil. If a bottle of extra virgin olive oil does not have the acidity level printed on the nutritional information, I would be asking why?
Check the Date
Never purchase olive oil that is not showing the expiry date. The expiry date of extra virgin olive oil is approximately 18 months from the bottling date. However, if olive oil is stored well, a good Extra Virgin should maintain its freshness for up to 24 months from the production date. We would recommend when purchasing olive oil calculate what you would use over a 3 month period so you are always getting the oil as fresh as possible. Our extra virgin olive oil has the expiry date stamped on the bottle at the time of bottling and also has the lot number and a bar code for traceability of the olive oil.
NUTRITIONAL PROFILE OF OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is 100% fat. One 15ml (1 tbsp) serving contains around 135 calories, and on average 14g of fat of which 2g are saturated and the rest is unsaturated fats.
Around 75% of this fat is a mono-unsaturated fat, called oleic acid, or omega-9, which is associated with multiple health benefits, the rest is poly-unsaturated fats, known as omega-6 and omega-3.
Olive oil contains vitamin E, which supports the normal function of the immune system as well as maintaining healthy skin and eyes, and is a good source of vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting and wound healing.
It’s the oil’s antioxidant status which provides a lot of its nutritional value, graded using the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale. Dietary antioxidants are found in foods and have been shown to significantly improve health. Extra virgin olive oil typically has a higher ORAC scale than refined olive oil.
BENEFITS OF TAKING A SHOT OF OLIVE OIL IN THE MORNING
Take a sip
Olive oil for a healthy gallbladder
Drinking olive oil can help increase the production of pancreatic juices and bile (which, incidentally, gives poo its brown colour). With oil, the risk of gallstones decreases and bile is important for the breakdown of fats so they can be absorbed into the intestinal wall.
Olive oil for colon health
The polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil act as antioxidants to rid the body of free radicals that would otherwise damage cells, or even lead to cancer. A study found that drinking olive oil inhibited colon cancer at various stages of the disease. So why not use it to fend off cancer to begin with? This is not to say that you should skip those recommended colonoscopies after age 50, but go ahead and add olive oil to your daily regimen as a preventative measure.
How to start your day with olive oil
With all this talk of the great benefits of olive oil, let’s talk about how to take it. We know, of course, that it may be a bit difficult to start your day with an entire shot of olive oil on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. In fact, if oil is consumed in large amounts, it may actually upset the stomach that is not used to it. Here are a couple more ways to go about it.
First, start with a tablespoon and increase the amount over time. Another option is to mix olive oil in a blender with a cup of warm water and the juice of a lemon. It makes it much more palatable and the lemon juice will help with the easier digestion of the oil. Plus, lemon juice has been linked to improved liver function. A healthy liver produces more bile, which in turn is needed for the proper breakdown of fats (and oils) in the small intestine. See our health benefits page for more information about the health benefits of olive oil.
CAN OLIVE OIL IMPROVE MOOD?
A Happier Life
As part of a healthy diet (one that includes high intake of fruit and vegetable and oily fish) olive oil has been found to play a role in decreasing the risk of depression.
A 2015 study found that in older populations, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts, was associated with improved cognitive function, and there've been more studies into how it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Other early research has suggested that olive oil may have protective effects against Type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer – however more research is needed before we can draw any firm conclusions.
CAN OLIVE OIL IMPROVE HEART HEALTH?
Olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet, and there’s been plenty of research that demonstrates the benefits of olive oil, in particular extra virgin olive oil, for heart health. This includes its ability to reduce blood pressure and improve healthy cholesterol levels, both of which contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease.
A large review of some of these studies demonstrated how olive oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat that’s been associated with a reduced risk of both stroke and heart disease.
DOES HEATING OLIVE OIL MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO ITS NUTRITIONAL PROFILE?
Taste the Difference
There is some debate around this as it’s traditionally thought that extra virgin oil was more sensitive to heat and had a lower ‘smoke point’ – once an oil reaches its smoke point it begins to change in chemical structure and may become a transfat. A 2018 study found that both extra virgin and regular olive oil both had good smoke points and are therefore fine to cook with.
As extra virgin olive oil is more expensive and has a stronger, more peppery taste it may be best kept for drizzling and dipping rather than cooking with. Refined olive oils, such as light olive oil, are much cheaper and have little or no taste which means it won’t affect the flavour of whatever you are cooking.
STORING OLIVE OIL
Preserve your olive oil
The optimum temperature for storing oil is 14-18˚C, so keep in a cool, dry, dark cupboard, away from the heat and light, don't be tempted to store near your cooker for ease of use.
Olive oil has three main enemies: oxygen, light, and heat. When exposed to those elements, the oil can turn rancid more quickly. The best way to prevent this and to extend your oil’s shelf life is correct storage.
CAN OLIVE OIL REDUCE INFLAMMATION?
A Happier Life
Inflammation is thought to be one of the key drivers behind some of the world’s more chronic health problems, including Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes. Research looking at the role of antioxidants and their anti-inflammatory effect, including oleic acid found in olive oil, has discovered they play a role in reducing inflammation and the marker for inflammation known as C-Reactive Protein (CRP).
Some studies have even found that extra virgin olive oil contains an antioxidant compound called oleocanthal, which shares the same pharmalogical activity as ibuprofen, thereby acting as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Part of this anti-inflammatory role has also been associated with certain positive changes in immune function in those with rheumatoid arthritis.