Cooking With Olive Oil

Cooking with olive oil adds flavor to your food and brings with it health benefits. However you have to know when to use it, and what type to use. We go through the basics…

Monounsaturated Fats

First, let’s look at some of the science.

Our bodies need moderate levels of monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil.

Monounsaturated fats help lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which can build up on the artery walls and cause blockages which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

High-density lipoproteins (HDL), on the other hand, at high enough levels help prevent heart attacks, and can be raised by monounsaturated fats.

As a result, cooking with olive oil can help reduce the chances of a heart attack by lowering your LDL and raising your HDL levels.

Types Of Olive Oil

There are several types of olive oil; some are used for cooking while others are better for dips and spreads. There are four basic varieties.

Extra Virgin

Extra virgin olive oil is the most expensive and comes from the first press of the best olives.

Typically, extra virgin olive oil is not used in cooking; it is added to finished food.


Virgin olive oil also comes from a first press of olives but is less acidic and less expensive than extra Virgin.


Pure olive oil is the result of the second press and is filtered and refined. It as a much lighter flavor than the virgin varieties, and is also less expensive.


Light olive oil is the least expensive, light referring to the color and flavor, not the calorie content. Light olive oil comes from the last press and is often mixed with other light oils.

Which One To Use?

When cooking with olive oil, the best choice tends to be either virgin or pure olive oil as they provide the richest flavor at a lower cost.

When Should I Use It?

Typically, when a recipe calls for vegetable oil, olive oil can be used in its place.

The determining factor on being able to substitute olive oil for another kind of oil is the cooking temperature. Its low smoke point makes cooking with olive oil at high temperatures difficult.

Olive oil is perfect for sautéing meats and vegetables at lower heats. Extra virgin olive oil mixed with pepper and other seasoning can make a delicious and healthy replacement for butter.

Cooking with olive oil is an excellent way to add flavor, lower bad cholesterol, and increase good cholesterol. It is an easy way to make each meal a little healthier.

Olive oil is an excellent way to cook.