When it comes to choosing an olive oil that’s going to give you top-notch benefits, steer clear of the highly refined products, since the healthiest oils are unrefined and minimally processed. Instead, opt for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). “It’s the least processed and therefore has the greatest nutritional benefit, compared to other types of olive oils,” says Ayanwola. “Since it is derived from olive berries, it contains large amounts of antioxidants, phytosterols, and vitamins“which can be stripped away when the oil is refined. (Here’s a handy trick to check if your EVOO is totally authentic.)
For that reason, it’s worth taking an extra moment to check how your oil is manufactured — this should be communicated very clearly on the brand’s bottle or website (for example, we love seeing “cold pressed” on the label). Here’s a few other tips for scoping out the most top-notch olive oil.
Just remember that EVOO is going to have a lower smoke point — around 325 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit — than more processed versions. For that reason, it’s best as a finishing oil (think: drizzling on top of dishes or using in dressings) versus baking or high-heat roasting.
When you’re scoping out the bottle itself, there’s one more thing to note: Olive oil should come in a darkly tinted, opaque container. Remember: “The antioxidants in olive oil degrade when exposed to heat, light, and oxygen, ” Maggie Moon, MS, RD shared with mindbodygreen, which is why the packaging is important. (More on how to store and keep your olive oil fresh here.)