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There has been a lot of conjecture around the use of extra virgin olive oil for cooking. Some say it is extremely harmful to fry in extra virgin olive oil while some say it is extremely healthy since Mediterranean food is made that way. Let’s find out what is the truth and put this debate to rest once and for all.
Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed variety and is mostly considered to be the healthiest form of olive oil. It is extracted using natural procedures and standardized for purity and specific sensory qualities, like taste and smell.
When Health Shots spoke to nutritionist Avni Kaul, she told us that “apart from its unique flavor and aroma, extra virgin olive oil is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and has been linked with a wide array of potential health benefits.”
While there are undebatable benefits of extra virgin olive oil when it comes to our overall health, especially for our skin, it is still not considered suitable for cooking. As Avni Kaul explains, there are a few reasons for that.
Why extra virgin olive oil is not to be used for cooking:
1. Due to delicate nutrients’ presence
One of the factors why extra virgin olive is expensive is due to the fact that it has several delicate nutrients and they possess several health benefits. Kaul explains that while we can enjoy these benefits when used as salad dressing but if you heat the oil for cooking the nutrients will lose their properties.
2. Heating damages Omega fatty acids
Omega fatty acids help in preventing various heart diseases and play a protective role in cancer and other conditions. “The oil contains both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Omega 3, in particular, is vital for cell membranes and tissues and is quite high in the retina, brain, and sperm among which DHA has nearly 36.4% of combined fatty acids. The fatty acids are sensitive to heat and get destroyed the moment it is heated,” says Kaul.
3. It becomes toxic smoke due to low smoking point
To figure out which oil is best for cooking, we need to figure out its smoking point and extra virgin olive oil doesn’t have a favorable smoking point. Kaul explains that “When oil is heated beyond the smoking point this gives off toxic smoke. Since extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point, cooking with this will escalate the risk of forming smoke that is harmful to our body.”
In all, you can cook in extra virgin olive oil, your kitchen won’t explode or your food won’t turn into poison, but it will do you no good too since all the nutrients you paid extra for will be gone.