When you’re at the grocery store, do you dodge the canola oil and reach straight for the olive oil because in the back of your mind you know it’s a healthier choice?
For the most part, you’re right! Olive oil has extensive health benefits and new positive attributes discovered all the time.
But to experience all the benefits of olive oil we have to remember a few things when purchasing, using, and storing it.
The healthy component in olive oil is the main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil, monounsaturated fat (MUFAs). MUFAs are considered a healthy dietary fat that can help lower your cholesterol and control insulin levels in the body.
Olive oil is also full of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage. Don’t worry, that’s not all: there are 101 Olive Oil Benefits to read through. Although the benefits of olive oil are vast, they may be negated if you don’t keep these 3 tips in mind for your next purchase.
First, turn the bottle upside down and look for the harvest date. Olive oil is the opposite of wine and is not meant to age. It should be thought of as equivalent to fresh fruit juice!
Within days, weeks, and months after harvest, the polyphenol content and health benefits of the oil diminish. Olive oil does have an expiration date and is best used within 3 months of the date of harvest.
According to Stillwater Olive Oil Company, a bottle of oil will last about a year on your shelf “after this time, the taste and health benefits, such as Vitamin E, beta-carotene, and other phenol levels decrease dramatically,” the company website states.
Second, make sure you buy olive oil that is already packaged in a tinted or dark green glass bottle. Heat and light can damage olive oil by creating oxidation, changing the beneficial chemical compounds.
Third, store your newly purchased olive oil in either a room temperature cupboard or in the refrigerator to protect it from light. Temperature is important in preventing degradation of olive oil. When you choose your storage location, remember that heat, air, and light are enemies of oil.
Finally, when you’re ready to cook with your olive oil, make sure to warm it slowly to preserve the antioxidants. Don’t forget to feel good about using your olive oil! For maximum nutrition, quality and flavor make sure the next olive oil you use meets your criteria.