03 May Rethink how you use Olive Oil: Benefits, Facts and Rules
Olive oil has been touted as one of the healthiest fats we can consume. As the trend toward improving our health (especially in the US) continues to gain momentum, the numerous benefits of olive oil find themselves in the news regularly. Aside from its incredible versatility for cooking, it also has many other uses that we can take advantage of. Meanwhile, it could be that the way we have been using it all along could be all wrong. With its popularity also comes misinformation and the potential for confusion. Here are several ways you should rethink how you are using olive oil so that you get the most benefits without any hassle.
The “light” variation of oil isn’t with regard to its calorie count, but rather the color and flavor of the oil. If you are buying light olive oil, you will not be saving on calories, as oils contain roughly the same calories and nutrients across the board (120 calories, 14g of fat per tablespoon). Light oils are more highly refined to make it more neutral than other variations.
Don’t skip cooking with extra virgin olive oil because of its smoke point. Much has been made in the media of the dangers of frying with olive oil because it has a low smoke point. If oil gets to its smoke point it can create harmful compounds, but you needn’t worry as much as the media would have you believe. EVOO has a smoke point of 410 degrees F, so there really is never a concern about reaching that smoke point if you are sauteing or frying on the stovetop.
Don’t keep your olive oil next to the stove. Olive oil can go rancid very quickly if you leave it exposed to constant heat and light. Be sure to store your oil in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry, to ensure it has the longest shelf-life possible. However, be sure not to throw out your olive oil at the first sign of bitterness. A slightly bitter taste can actually be an indicator of the presence of antioxidants, so don’t immediately jump to thinking it’s gone bad. Also, refrain from stocking up on oil when it’s on sale. Again, it can go rancid (as can any oil), so it’s important to only buy as much as you’ll use in a month at a time. If you stock up you run the risk of tossing out a bunch of unused oil or using rancid oil in your cooking.
These tips can help you use olive oil more effectively than you may have in the past. With all of the health benefits available, olive oil should be a staple in your daily diet. The healthy fats can help support brain health and keep you lean, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t add it to your diet today.