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The olive oil in our kitchen

The extra virgin olive oil can be consumed immediately upon receipt without any chemical treatment.

Greeks have the highest per capita consumption (approx. 24 liters per year).

This natural juice is an ideal food for all ages, including small children.

It gives the food a rich and special aroma.

Since some of the aromatic components of olive oil are lost during cooking, it is advisable to add the olive oil towards the end of the cooking process.

Half of the olive oil consumed in Mediterranean countries is used for cooking, while the rest is eaten raw in salads or bread.

Olive oil seems to play a role in the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients (e.g. calcium, iron, magnesium) and in the treatment of constipation thanks to its mild laxative effect.

·      Is the olive oil suitable for cooking/frying/baking?

This question worries most people. Above all, whether heating olive oil is harmful or more harmful than other oils.

·      In general, what happens to oil when it is heated?

The heat and the supply of oxygen lead to a decomposition process (oxidation) in general for all oils/fats. This means that our olive oil oxidizes like all other oils/fats and loses most of its nutritional value when heated. It is understood that when frying, many of the antioxidants (beneficial ingredients) are destroyed.

Oxidizing products affect the liver, heart, arteries and are considered carcinogenic.

Two factors make an oil more resistant to the oxidation process: the composition of the fatty acids and any components in the oil that slow down the decomposition process and can therefore protect the oil and the food for longer.

Monounsaturated fatty acids are more stable than polyunsaturated fatty acids and are therefore more protected from oxidation.


Now the good news and the answer to our question is:    

Of all edible oils and fats, olive oil (extra virgin olive oil) has the highest proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids, namely between 70 and 80% (cf. rapeseed oil 65% or sunflower oil 15%).                                                        

This means that the olive oil is very heat resistant and the least harmful.

High-quality olive oils offer additional protection when heated due to the higher proportion of secondary plant substances (polyphenols). Refined olive oil contains almost no polyphenols. The higher the number of polyphenols in the oil, ie the higher the nutritional value of an olive oil, the longer it can withstand the heat of cooking or frying. That's why we only talk about extra virgin olive oils in cooking.


O  In one study, researchers heated extra virgin olive oil to 180 degrees Celsius for 36 hours and found that the oil stayed significantly longer.

O  In another study, olive oil was used for frying, and it took 24 to 27 hours for the damage to reach levels considered harmful.

The following is important to note:

O  The olive oil must not burn and start to smoke. This focal point/smoke point is around 220 degrees for olive oil and 170 – 180 degrees for frying/frying. That means we must not go above these temperatures.

O  During roasting/frying, the temperature should be as stable as possible.

O  Due to its high content of monounsaturated acids and vitamin E, it is the only vegetable oil that can be safely fried up to three times as long as it is not burned and the temperature does not exceed 180 degrees. So if we can say that the oil is nutritionally useless after the first frying, other oils may actually be dangerous.

O  After use, the frying oil should be filtered because the substances that remain in the oil accelerate its decomposition.

O  You should not mix used oils with new oil.


Foods fried in olive oil are "lighter" because they have fewer calories and absorb less oil when fried.

Wherever possible, replace animal or other unhealthy fats with extra virgin olive oil. For example, use olive oil instead of butter when baking cakes.

·      Why olive oil in baking?

The main ingredients in baking are some kind of fat and sugar.

The fats that are used are lard, butter and margarine. The first are of animal origin, which contain a lot of saturated fat. The margarine is of vegetable origin, although it has not been processed, it is composed mainly of trans fats - with effects that cannot be described as beneficial to health.

The use of olive oil in baking has gradually increased recently: reasons are that eating habits have improved or that olive oil production has improved a lot in recent years.

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