The list of health benefits of olive oil is continuously growing.
It’s the main element of the Mediterranean diet and it contains numerous beneficial fatty acids such as Omega-4 and Omega-6, as well as vitamin E and vitamin K.
It was shown that the antioxidants found in extra virgin olive oil help in the fight of various diseases, and protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation since they act as an anti-inflammatory in the body.
It was also proven my numbers of studies that olive oil reduces blood pressure and prevents blood clotting, thus avoiding cardiovascular disease.
If you add real olive oil in your diet, your overall health will be improved in so many ways.
The only problem with olive oil is that not all of its types are produced equal.
There are lower quality versions which can be produced by extraction using chemicals, and they can be even diluted with cheaper, low quality oils. Purchasing the right olive oil type is crucial to ensure that you’re your family is reaping all of its health benefits.
The Adulteration Process
Recently, The New York Times showed up with Nicholas Blechman’s covering of the olive oil adulteration process.
Although the majority believes that the oil sold as Italian olive oil originates from Italy, it actually doesn’t. It comes from Morocco, Spain, and Tunisia.
After being collected, cleaned, crushed and pressed, the olives are driven to a mill and then filled into a tank and finally shipped to Italy. But then shipments of other cheaper and lower quality oils such as soybean oil are labeled as olive oil, and as such are smuggled in the same port.
There are many refiners who change the olive oil with some cheaper oil, and some try to disguise the flavor by mixing vegetable oil with beta-carotene, while for the color they add chlorophyll in order to get a fake olive oil.
Bottles of this oil are then legally marked as “Extra Virgin” and “Imported from Italy” or “Packaged in Italy” and shipped in all parts of the world.
You can see this adulteration process of olive oil in the video below.
How to Know If You Are Getting the Right Olive Oil?
69% of the total extra virgin oil bought in stores throughout U.S have proved to be fake according to the tests made by UC Davis Olive Center.
This study included 186 samples of extra virgin oil against the International Olive Council standards. The brands which didn’t meet the standards of extra virgin oil are the following:
- Filippo Berio
The best way to be sure that you’re getting the true olive oil is purchasing it from a local farmer that you trust. If locally-produced olive oil is not an option for you, search for a third-part certification on the oil’s label.
Although most bottles claim they are “completely natural”, it doesn’t mean they are. The Australian Olive Association and The California Olive Oil Council have programs which ensure their seals are trustworthy.
The olive oil which claims that it was packaged in Italy, should have PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) or PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) seals. Moreover, the bottle label of the true olive oil contains the specific place where the oil was produced.
The author of ‘Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil”, Tom Muller, has made a list of olive oils that according to him are real ones. He suggests:
- Cobram Estate
- California Olive Ranch
- Corto Olive
Watch the video below to see how to test your olive oil!