We have a lot of customers ask us the differences between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO, gets a lot of coverage and research because of its tremendous health benefits. When it comes down to it, there are really four major differences between these two types of olive oil .
Harvesting and Pressing Methods
The first thing that distinguishes these two types of oil is the way they are produced. EVOO is made by harvesting the olives, grinding them into a paste, and then promptly pressing them to release their oils. The olives are not heated, and the olive oil is not treated with any additives.
Regular olive oil may be heated before the liquid is pressed from them. This makes the production of the oil cheaper and more effective. However, this heat can also change the content of the oil and it may prolong the oil’s shelf life.
Color and Flavor
Experts and afficianados can pretty reliably tell the difference between olive oil vs extra virgin just by looking at it and smelling it. With a little practice, you can too.
Because EVOO is not heated or refined, it has a lot of natural compounds that give olives their flavor. These flavors are also dependent upon the amount of polyphenols in the oil that give it both taste and health benefits. They give the EVOO a grassy green color and a distinct, fruity or peppery aroma and taste. High quality EVOO bottles are usually dark green in color to prevent the sun from breaking down the aromatic compounds.
Regular or pure olive oil is usually more yellow than green in color. Some of the more processed varieties are almost clear. These products also have a more neutral scent; they are lacking the fruity olive aroma you get from an extra virgin product.
Both varieties are full of healthy, unsaturated fatty acids. The monounsaturated fats they contain are good for heart health and may help reduce your risk of stroke. They are also known to help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
EVOO is higher in polyphenols, a class of nutrient known for their antioxidant properties . Polyphenols are thought to help protect against obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other ailments.* These nutrients are mostly stripped from regular olive oil as a part of the refinement process.
EVOO is also high in vitamin E and plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system, healthy skin, and healthy eyes. So choose EVOO whenever you can.
There are also differences in use when comparing olive oil vs extra virgin. Because extra virgin olive oil has a different fatty acid composition, it has a fairly high smoke point at around 375-410 degrees F. If heated hotter than this, it may lose much of its benefits while changing its flavor.
EVOO has higher polyphenols and composition that it allow it to be used at these relatively high temperatures of 400 degrees F in cooking and frying. This has been confirmed by the Culinary Institute of America recently in an article on the smoke point of EVOO.
Regular olive oil has an even higher smoke point of 465 degrees F. This means you can use it for sauteing and roasting without worrying that it will smoke and denature.
If you love olive oil as we do, you could keep two bottles on hand : a bottle of enriched EVOO for salad dressings and regular cooking and a lower cost olive oil for high heat cooking.
Now we hand it over to you.
Would you like to share your first-hand experience of how products like our CardiOlive 25x provide delicious and nutritious benefits? Now can you see the differences? Do you have any other feedback or input to add to the discussion?
“Anti-inflammatory Activity of EVOO Polyphenols”: See it at PubMed.gov
“Effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial” See it at Pubmed.gov