Olive oil has been steadily gaining popularity thanks to the many health benefits it offers. Olive oil is the natural oil extracted from olives, the fruit of the olive tree. It consists of saturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids as well as omega-6 fatty acids that are extremely beneficial for health. While the health benefits of olive oil are unparalleled, there are often several doubts surrounding how to use this oil for cooking. We love it in our salads, but how about frying foods in Olive Oil? It has long been said that vegetable oils shouldn’t be exposed to high heat as doing this may only make the oil more hazardous. Here’s what you should know before considering olive oil as a cooking medium for all your fried foods at home.
Olive oil and its health benefits
Olive oil is known to aid weight loss, improve metabolism and digestion and prevent ageing. Being a rich source of monounsaturated fats, it helps in lowering bad cholesterol levels in our blood. The extra virgin version contains antioxidant polyphenols and oleic acid, which is why it is considered healthier than any other vegetable oil. It is an excellent source of vitamin E that helps regulate metabolism especially in elderly. Olive oil is rich in phenols that have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that help inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and relieve inflammation.
Olive oil is known to aid weight loss, improve metabolism and digestion and prevent ageing
How does heating change olive oil?
Any oil that you fry your foods in must be chosen well. Different cooking methods need the cooking medium to be subjected to varying degrees of heat. Further, the choice of oil must be made knowing if the oil is able to withstand the required temperature. According to Dr.Preeti Jain, Senior Dietitian at Action Cancer Hospital, “Each oil used for cooking or frying has a temperature at which it breaks down, the temperature which is also known as smoke point. The smoke point for olive oil is lower than that of other vegetable oils. As a result we recommend less frying in it. Also, while it can be used for deep frying but it does not make the food healthier than frying with any other polyunsaturated oils.”
Olive oil is graded according to extraction methods and quality – according to this gradation extra virgin and virgin olive oil (EVOO) are deemed best for human consumption.
Any oil that you fry your foods in must be chosen well
What about Pomace Oil? Can Pomace Oil be used to fry foods?
Pomace oil is a by-product of the extraction process of the olive oil. Olive oil is cold-pressed and pomace is hot-pressed, which is why it is more preferable to use pomace for frying foods. Dr. Preeti shares, “Virgin Olive Oil, extra virgin oil and pomace oil are some of the different edible grades of olive oil. All these different grades have different taste and different smoke points. Pomace olive oil is okay to fry foods as it has high oxidative stability with high temperatures and does not react with oxygen when heated; however, it does not promise to make the foods healthier.”
So now you know. It is best to avoid Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Deep-frying Foods. If you want to consume Olive Oil for the many health benefits, then it’s best to use EVOO on salads, toppings, sandwiches and light sautés. For frying, Pomace could be a better alternative, however you do no get the health benefits of Olive Oil when going for this option.