One thing we can all agree on in this controversial health world is that extra virgin olive oil is a very healthy oil. It's a monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) that according to the Mayo clinic:
“May help lower your risk of heart disease by improved related risk factors. For instance, MUFAs have been found to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.”
Also, some research shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be helpful if you have, or are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
This means that this superstar oil is high in antioxidants and clinically proven to help prevent stroke and heart disease
But not all olive oil is created equal, and there are some major mistakes we can make when purchasing it.
Top quality sourcing is at the heart of who we are and what we do here at The Whole Journey because if our food is to be used as our medicine, we must know and trust where it came from and how it was produced.
Growing up 100% Italian, olive oil was at the center of our very long Sunday dinners.
We always had a little individual dish of olive oil by our plates to dip our bread in. I used to sit next to my great-grandmother, Juliana for these elaborate Sunday dinners.
I didn't speak Italian, and she didn't speak much English. Dipping our bread in olive oil was our common denominator, which strengthened our bond. Every single week she'd ask me “Ah Chrissy, you like-a-da-bread?” and I would respond “yes, grandma” and she would say “deep, deep” (translation= dip, dip). And so we dipped and broke bread together each week, making the fondest of memories.
I had no idea what kind of adulteration is now allowed to take place with the production of olive oil and the mistakes we all make when we buy it. But now that I know, I had to let you know you too – so that this heart-healthy staple in your pantry is, in fact, the superfood you think it is.
Here are the rules of engagement when it comes to purchasing and consuming top quality olive oil.
Rule #1: It Must Be Fresh-Pressed
Olive oil should be harvested and pressed at its peak so that the freshness and nutrition gets locked in.
Everything has a growing and harvesting season, so it makes sense that to get the freshest and therefore the healthiest olive oil, we need to go beyond our borders as seasons change to leverage more than just the northern hemisphere.
Look for “Harvest date or Pressed Date” on your olive oil bottle.
It should be the most recent date on the bottle. Olive oil guru and renown researcher, T. J. Robinson argues that olives are a fruit and their oil is technically their juice (just like avocados). Because of that, we should be aware of both the harvest date or pressing date as well as the Use By date because we should never keep olive oil longer than a year.
Robinson also suggests that better quality olive oil is done in small batches.
Rule #2: Must be Independently Tested
In his New York Times best-selling book, Extra Virginity, journalist and olive oil expert Tom Mueller warns of contaminants and even cancer-causing agents found in fake olive oils.
Since there are no standard regulations for olive oil, it can be cut with pesticides or other low-quality oils and passed off as olive oil, especially in restaurants where they try to keep food costs down.
You want to make sure that what you're buying says that it contains 100% extra virgin olive oil and nothing else.
T.J. Robinson, our Olive Oil Hunter also suggests that we need to know how it was shipped because a lot of olive oils coming over from Italy come on the slow boat with long customs inspections. It can take up to a year after being processed to hit our shelves, which is right around the time he suggests NOT consuming your olive any longer because it's lost its antioxidants and other nutrient power by that time.
Current standards do not require olive oil to be shipped as a perishable food, which makes it subject to less than ideal shipping conditions, such as temperature control, and it's often traveling with non-food items like manufacturing goods.
Rule #3: Must Pass Many Taste Tests!
If you've always bought your olive oil in a supermarket, odds are you've never experienced the extraordinary diversity of flavors that await you among the finest artisanal oils. Years ago in Argentina, I was shocked on the wide variety of depth and flavor during an olive oil tasting.
That's why I brought on two taste testers to give their unbiased opinion of the three Chilean oils we sample on today's show. The first two are bold, rich, alive, and spicy while the last one is a more traditional mild, fresh tasting olive oil.
Today we sample:
If you would like to sample any of these delicious oils, you can get any one of their $39 bottles of olive oil for $1 from our friends at the Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club by visiting bottleforabuck.com. This offer comes from olive oil guru T. J. Robinson. Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club is a club membership, so if you do not wish to get a monthly shipment of olive oil after you get your $1 bottle, make a note to call and cancel after your olive oil arrives.
Note: sample supplies are limited so sample flavor could vary
I just LOVE people who dedicate their lives to top quality sourcing, and I'm grateful to have had the privilege to meet so many of these pioneers of purity throughout my career. I am now a loyal member of the Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club, and I think my late grandma Juliana would be proud. 🙂