EVOO your kitchen and health

By now Rachel Ray’s “EVOO” has some name recognition and even be found in the Oxford American College Dictionary. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the most common form of olive oil used for cooking by those “in-the-know.” What’s to know, you ask? Well first, olive oil typically takes three forms in the grocery store:

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): this oil is extracted mechanically. A press or a machine centrifuge is used to separate the oil from the olive solids.
  • Olive oil or Pure Olive oil: the main ingredient is refined olive oil, so the term “pure” may appear misleading. Refined olive oil requires chemicals and heat to separate the oils and solids. To add color and flavor to pure olive oil, virgin olive oil is added. Virgin olive oil is similar to extra virgin but has a different acidity and less flavor.
  • Extra Light or light Olive oil: this oil is similar to the refined pure olive oil but has less virgin olive oil added, so the color and flavor are lighter.

Is light olive oil lighter on the waist-line? Unfortunately, not because all oils have the same fat content. For 1 tablespoon of oil, there are 120 calories and nearly 14 grams of fat. Fortunately the fat in olive oils is a “better-for-you” fat. Most of the fat comes from a monounsaturated type which is linked to lower risks of coronary heart disease and decreased LDL levels (the Lousy cholesterol). Olive oils also provide some healthful omega-3 fats.

Reach for EVOO more often since EVOO offers nutrient advantages of more antioxidants (like vitamin E) and polyphenols (colorful vegetable pigments) than olive oils that are processed. Plus you get to save time by just saying “Pass the EVOO please”.


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