Cooking with Olive Oil

Yes, you can cook with olive oil! In fact, it is the healthiest oil to cook with.

Cooking with olive oil has raised concerns due to a low smoke point, however the focus should be on the oxidative stability and level of refinement.

To learn more about busting the myths of not cooking with EVOO, have a read of this article from the National Olive Oil Association, Cooking Oil and Oxidative Stability.


Rancid Fats & Oils

This article The Health Implications of Rancid Fats and Oils, written by Jacqui Plozza, is posted at The Olive Wellness Institute.

 The Health Implications of Rancid Fats and Oils

All food will deteriorate over time. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables can ferment, and fats and oils will go rancid.

There are concerns that consuming rancid fats and oils is damaging to health. Whilst more research is needed to establish impact of long-term consumption of rancid fats and oils, this article discusses some of the current evidence, factors that contribute to an oil becoming rancid and common sources of rancid oils.

What is rancidity?

Rancidity is the term used to describe the breakdown and deterioration of fats and oils. It involves various chemical reactions and results in unpleasant odours and flavours.1  The major mechanism through which a fat or oil becomes rancid is via “oxidative rancidity”. Oxidative rancidity arises from the decomposition of peroxides. In this case, the oil breaks down due to exposure to oxygen and forms decomposition products such as aldehydes, ketones and hydrocarbons.1 These by-products contribute to the unpleasant flavours and aromas associated with rancid fats and oils.

An oil is more prone to oxidation and rancidity if it is:

  • High in polyunsaturated fat – Polyunsaturated fat is highly susceptible to oxidation due to double bonds, as this is where oxidative damage occurs.2, 3
  • Exposed to prolonged heat, light or oxygen.3 Inadequate storage conditions for an oil can speed up oxidation through increased exposure to these factors.3
  • Naturally low in antioxidants – antioxidants protect an oil from oxidising and are often added in limited permissible amounts to refined seed oils that are high in polyunsaturated fat to protect the oil from oxidising.4
  • Refined or heavily processed – oil-processing methods affect an oils oxidative stability through mechanisms such as removing antioxidants.3

Where are rancid fats and oils found?

Rancid fats and oils can be found in a variety of sources.

Cooking oils

Food sources of rancid fats and oils include cooking oils that are higher in polyunsaturated fat as they are more susceptible to oxidative damage due to multiple double bonds.2, 3 Oils high in polyunsaturated fat include sunflower oil, corn oil, flaxseed oil and soybean oil. For a comparison of the fatty acid profile of common cooking oils, click here.

Herbal supplements and essential oils

In terms of supplement products, herbal supplements and essential oils often contain “carrier oils”.5 A carrier oil is the vehicle for the product, intended to preserve the potency and delivery of the active compounds within a substance.6 For example, CBD oil is currently a popular supplement in the health and wellness world. It is extracted from the cannabis plant and then diluted with a carrier oil like coconut oil, hemp seed oil or extra virgin olive oil. Whilst coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil contain very little polyunsaturated fat, hemp seed oil is predominantly polyunsaturated fat, and therefore more prone to oxidation.7 Additionally, extra virgin olive oil is high in natural antioxidants, which also protect oil from oxidation and rancidification.


Fish oil supplements

Fish oil capsules are the most common non-vitamin, nonmineral supplement in the United States, taken by 10% of adults.8 Fish oil is rich in omega-3, a polyunsaturated fat, and therefore readily oxidises. Multiple studies in countries such as Australia, the US, New Zealand and Africa show that many fish oil supplements readily available on supermarket shelves are oxidised.9-13

A 2018 Australian study showed that 38% of 26 fish oil supplements tested exceeded the limit for primary oxidation, as measured by Peroxide Value (PV), a key measure of an oils rancidity.9 Supplements tested were bought off shelf, as consumers would purchase them, and mostly had at least one year until their expiry date.

A comprehensive 2015 survey of fish oil supplements on the New Zealand market showed that 83% of 32 products tested exceeded the recommended level of PV’s, 33% by more than twofold.13 A 2015 North American study looked at 171 fish oil supplement products and found that 50% exceeded the voluntary recommended levels for markers of oxidation.10



What are the health implications of consuming rancid fats and oils?

Consuming rancid fats and oils may reduce the nutritive value of the food by destroying vitamins such as Vitamin A and E.14, 15 There is also evidence to show that decomposition products produced by oxidised oil may be detrimental to health and have been linked to the development of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.16-19

In animal studies, exposure to oxidised oils and fats has been shown to cause harm including growth retardation, organ toxicity, accelerated atherosclerosis, reduced immunity parameters, high newborn mortality and increased maternal insulin resistance.20-23

Evidence into the impact of consuming rancid oils in humans is mixed. A 2016 Randomised Control Trial (RCT) in healthy subjects suggested that short-term consumption of oxidised fish oil may not have a negative impact at the molecular level. It found no difference in the transcriptome between those randomized to high quality or oxidised fish oil in the short term.24 The oxidised fish oil had a PV value of 18 meq/kg and participants were prescribed 8g per day for seven weeks.

On the flip side, more oxidised fish oils may be less effective in reducing chronic disease risk factors. A 2013 RCT found that consuming less oxidised fish oil reduced circulating cholesterol and triglycerides more so than more oxidised fish oil.25

The impact of long-term exposure to rancid oils (i.e. consuming for months or years) has not been investigated rigorously.25 However, the current body of evidence suggests long term exposure to lipid oxidation products in doses seen in fish oil supplements, for example, are likely to have adverse effects on inflammation, oxidative stress and lipid metabolism.26

A longer running 2007 North African study looked at food items that were associated with Nasopharangeal Carcinoma (NCP) and found that rancid butter and rancid sheep fat were associated with significantly increased risk of NPC.27 North Africa is one of the major NPC endemic regions. The large-scale case-control study looked at over 600 cases and 600 controls over a period of four years.




Although the impact of consuming rancid fats and oils in humans is yet to be fully elucidated,  animal studies indicate that consuming rancid oils is detrimental to health. Therefore, people should avoid consuming rancid oils where they can.

Ways to achieve this include:

  • Select fats and oils from a reputable trusted source.
  • Favour an oil that is lower in polyunsaturated fat such as extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, as polyunsaturated fat oxidises more readily.
  • Choose an oil that is high in natural antioxidants, such as extra virgin olive oil.
  • Select a packaging size that allows full utilization of the oil within 4-6 weeks depending on family size and consumption patterns.
  • Store cooking oils and oil supplements in a cool dry place and use within the best before date.
  • In the case of fish oil supplements, look to the studies that review oxidation of specific brands in various countries, or look to meet omega recommendations through food sources where possible.
For a more in depth look at into the health benefits and scientific studies of olive oil, visit the Olive Wellness Institute.


Fall is a beautiful time of year.  It brings the harvest of summer crops and another change of seasons,  as Mother Nature begins the hibernation for the long winter ahead.

This is the perfect time to give thought as to how to stock the pantry and not the medicine cabinet, in order to stay healthy throughout the year.

The Healing Foods Project, developed by Dr. Mary Flynn is and excellent resource when it comes to improving risk factors for chronic disease and for maintaining a healthy weight.

As a nutritionist, Dr. Flynn works in human nutrition research at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, and has been teaching there since 1998.

Learn about the health benefits of maintaining a plant-based olive oil (PBOO) diet and download your free copy of the Healing Foods Project Cookbook.

We know that we are what we eat, and by shifting our diets to be more plant-based we can not only improve our own health, but the health of the planet as well.


Oleuropein and Breast Cancer

"The hopeful anticancer role of Oleuropein in breast cancer through histone deacetylas modulation", as published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, May 2019.  

Mansouri, N., Alivand, M. R., Bayat, S., Khaniani, M. S., & Derakhshan, S. M.


6 Superfoods to eat every day!

The Island Where People Forget To Die

A life of longevity and vitality.

The secret is in the lifestyle.  Eat simple foods, mostly plant based, loaded with vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and legumes and of course lots of olive oil.

We love this article published back in 2012 in the New York Times about Stamatis Moraitis who went back to his homeland Ikaria in his sixties, with lung cancer and a warning from doctors that he had just nine months to live.  At the time this article was published, Stamatis was 97 years old and cancer free!


The Island Where People Forget to Die

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” ...quoted by Michael Pollan.

The plant-based diet is getting lots of attention these days, drawing focus on the our environment and the effect it can have on climate change.

The Bioneers, Revolution from the Heart of Nature, has posted this article

Eating Plant-Based Diets Can Play a Huge Role in Limiting the Effects of Climate Change

a very interesting article on how the way we eat affects our planet.

Of course we like plant based diets, like the Mediterranean, for all of its health benefits and its consumption of super healthy high phenolic olive oils. 

Is your olive oil real or fake? Put it to the test.

A recent study found that almost 70% of oils labeled “extra virgin” olive oil on California retail shelves really aren’t extra virgin at all.

If you really want to know if your olive oil is extra virgin or not, try submitting it to the smell and “cough tests”.

Place a small amount of the oil into a small round glass (i.e. shot glass or wine glass).

Cover the top of the glass, and warm it with your body heat by rubbing it with your hands.

Now uncover the glass and take a deep smell of the now slightly warmed oil.

True extra virgin olive oil should have a grassy, fruity or vegetable like smell.

Next it’s time to for a taste test.

You do this in much the same way you taste wine.

Take a sip but don’t swallow.

Swirl the oil around in your mouth for a few seconds.

Keep your teeth together and part your lips slightly.

Then gently draw in some air.

Next, swirl the oil around your mouth so it mingles with the air.

Then swallow.

If it’s genuine extra virgin olive oil, -reportedly you should experience a bitter or pepper like taste towards the back of your throat.

And you should actually cough:

“ A true extra virgin will reveal lots of fruit and vegetable flavours as you swirl it around your mouth and will have a peppery or bitter taste at the back of your throat when you swallow it. It’s normal to cough, and in fact, premium olive oils are often characterized as one-cough, two-cough or three-cough oil. The more coughing, the more the polyphenols and the better the oil!”



                                                                                         Originally published at

White Blood Cells & Phenolic Rich EVOO

The health protective properties found in phenolic rich olive oils, continues to draw attention for ongoing scientific research and clinical studies for many of todays chronic diseases.

Recently, Professor Paola Rojas of Peloponnes University and hematologist Dr. Ioannis Kontonis at the hospital of Sparta, supervised the world’s first intervention with Leukemia patients using olive oil rich in oleocanthal.

Learn more here from Lisa Radinovsky, as she shares her love and knowledge for Greece at Greek Liquid Gold, an excellent resource for articles on the health benefits of olive oil, recipes and much more!

To read more on the ongoing research and project studies, visit the World Olive Centre for Health.

Gout, Olive Oil and the MedDiet


A very painful inflammation that develops in the joints due to high levels of uric acid in the blood. The acid forms needle-like crystals, causing redness, and tenderness that can be quite severe and last for days. Tap our bio link, head Articles and learn more about how a Medeterranian Diet and High Phenolic EVOO can help those suffering through the flare up of Gout.

From the "Gout & You", Experiments on Battling Gout and Living a Healthier Life, we share this article Gout & Olive Oil