Article taken from mindbodygreen
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If there's one product you can absolutely, always, guaranteed find in my pantry, it's olive oil. This healthy oil often makes an appearance in my go-to dishes—whether I drizzle it on top of veggies or blend it into salad dressings.
It's no secret that olive oil is a healthy kitchen staple—but with so many products on the market to choose from, are they all really at the same level? Let's chat about how to find a truly high-quality oil, along with some standout options worth adding to your cart.
Why olive oil?
There's a reason olive oil is a cornerstone of the much-loved Mediterranean diet—this healthy fat is packed with benefits. Here are a couple of expert- and research-backed perks to consider:*
- Antioxidant-rich: "It is notably rich in vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps to maintain the integrity of cell membranes and protect it from free radicals," registered dietitian Titilayo Ayanwola, MPH, R.D., L.D., previously told mbg.
- Heart-healthy: The monounsaturated fats in olive oil can help support healthy cholesterol.
- Brain-supporting: "It's said that what's good for the heart is good for the brain," nutritional psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, M.D., previously shared with mindbodygreen. "Olive oil, which contains a special phytonutrient called hydroxytyrosol, protects your blood vessels to keep both your cardiovascular and nervous systems in top working order."
- Anti-inflammatory actions: Unlike other unhealthy cooking oils, olive oil helps maintain a healthy inflammatory response since it is low in polyunsaturated fats, family physician and New York Times bestselling author Cate Shanahan, M.D., said in a mindbodygreen podcast episode.
- Longevity-promoting: A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that consuming more olive oil, particularly in place of other fats, may lead to a longer life.
Choosing your olive oil: what to look for & what to avoid.
When it comes to choosing an olive oil that's going to give you top-notch benefits, steer clear of the highly refined products since the healthiest oils are unrefined and minimally processed. Instead, opt for extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). "It's the least processed and therefore has the greatest nutritional benefit, compared to other types of olive oils," says Ayanwola. "Since it is derived from olive berries, it contains large amounts of antioxidants, phytosterols, and vitamins," which can be stripped away when the oil is refined. (Here's a handy trick to check if your EVOO is totally authentic.)
For that reason, it's worth taking an extra moment to check how your oil is manufactured—this should be communicated very clearly on the brand's bottle or website (for example, we love seeing "cold-pressed" on the label). Here are a few other tips for scoping out the most top-notch olive oil.
Just remember that EVOO is going to have a lower smoke point—around 325 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit—than more processed versions. For that reason, it's best as a finishing oil (think drizzling on top of dishes or using in dressings) versus baking or high-heat roasting.
When you're scoping out the bottle itself, there's one more thing to note: Olive oil should come in a darkly tinted, opaque container. Remember: "The antioxidants in olive oil degrade when exposed to heat, light, and oxygen," Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D. shared with mindbodygreen, which is why the packaging is important. (More on how to store and keep your olive oil fresh here.)
Best olive oil 2022.
As for the best options to choose from, as a health editor, here [is one] of my top picks based on research and personal experience:
This 100% EVOO has a bright slightly fruity flavor and is another fantastic staple for any kitchen. The brand is very deliberate about their method: The olives are picked at peak freshness, then cold-extracted within hours and stored in a climate-controlled cellar until there is a customer order.
Truly 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Corto ($25)