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Just How Extra Virgin Is Your Olive Oil?

Just How Extra Virgin Is Your Olive Oil?

When Olive Oyl stirred up trouble between her boyfriend Popeye and brutish Bluto, she was slick enough escape from harm’s way. Seems OO has a way of making things turnout healthier! But lately there’s been some confusion about how Miss Oyl conducts herself -- seems extra virgin olive oil might not be as pure as it claims. So how do you get the most health benefits from your EVOO and make sure you’re getting what you pay for?

First -- maximum health benefits from EVOO happen when you “Go to Italy…with your mouth.” As Dr. Mike points out in his book This is YOUR Do-Over, the mono- and polyunsaturated fats found in olives, olive oil, anchovies, avocados and pine nuts (all Italian favorites), not to mention wild salmon (not so Italian), help keep your arteries clear and inflammation down to a minimum.

Second -- real extra virgin can be hard to get, but it’s worth it. EVOO is cold pressed, first harvest, with only 1% acid content; all that preserves taste and nutrient values. Check your EVOO label to see if it carries a harvest date (2 years old is max) plus the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) or California Olive Oil Council designation; they make sure olive oils are not adulterated or mislabeled. The International Olive Council (IOC) sets standards for the rest of the world. Also, avoid oils that say “packaged in” or “distributed from” Spain, Italy and Greece. The label should indicate the origin of the oil itself. Buon appetito!

Medically reviewed in October 2019.

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