But isn’t extra virgin olive oil just… fat?
Absolutely. It’s pure, unadulterated mono-unsaturated fat that’s actually good for you! Many essential vitamins and minerals need fat to help them do their job. Our skin, hair and nails thrive on it. As for weight loss, fat helps rather than hinders because it promotes that all-important sense of satiety.
What to look for
To ensure you’re buying the best, look for the words ‘extra virgin’ and ‘cold pressed’ on the label. Cold pressed means no heat or chemicals were used during extraction. Choose EVOO in dark glass bottles, not plastic. Avoid inferior-quality oils that aren’t labelled as extra virgin and those that may boast being ‘extra light’, ‘light’, ‘pure’ or ‘refined’. A good EVOO will often state its harvest date on the label. It won’t be inexpensive either – but your health is worth it!
EVOO is not like a good wine that improves over time; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Instead, think of EVOO as a fresh juice, which means the fresher the better. A good-quality EVOO will remain shelf stable for around a year but must be kept in a cool, dark place away from light and heat. If you haven’t used yours within a year, it’s time to reinvest.
EVOO is a great way to oil your wooden chopping board. Massage in an amount of oil, then leave the board to stand for two hours before washing off with soapy water. This will prevent your board from cracking and staining.
Out of the kitchen, if you want to avoid chemical products and go au naturel with your beauty regimen, a little EVOO acts as a wonderfully decadent moisturiser. You can also use it to condition your hair; simply apply a few drops to dry ends and leave for a few hours before washing out with regular shampoo.
Click here to find out more about the difference between 'light', 'classic' and 'robust' labels.