Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Buy Olive Oil - How to Choose the Best Olive Oil Off the Shelf by Laura Ng

When buying olive oil, how do you choose the best quality olive oil off the shelf?

As opposed to plant, olive oil dreads light, heat and air. Over-exposing the oil to these environmental factors can expedite the breaking down of oil nutrients and make it turn rancid easily. Worst of all, consuming such rancid oil may elevate your risk for heart disease and cancer.

So, better be safe than be sorry when choosing olive oil.

Unfortunately, most stores are brightened with light, and most olive oils are bottled in clear containers that expose the oil to the light for as long as they stand on the shelf. By the time you enter the store and reach out for it, it could have stayed there for months.

Here's a tip - choose the one that stands in the shade at the back instead of the one in front. Also, don't pick those on the top shelf where it's exposed to direct light.

Plastic container is less resistant to heat and may produce toxic residue when the oil reacts with it, causing a harmful change in the oil's chemical and healthful properties. So, don't pick olive oil that is kept in plastic container.

Get the type that uses tinted glass to hold the oil. Tinted surface can help the oil keep out light. Though it costs you more, it's the wisest choice.

Take note though, if you suspect the olive oil has been left unsold on the shelf for too long after noticing the production or pressing date or "use by" dates on the label, or you even see thick layers of dust collected on the bottle, don't buy.

In addition, make sure the cap is tightly sealed without any sign of tampering, to make sure no air seep through the cap to spoil the oil.

By the way, there are some differences between refined olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil in their endurance to heat and light. Refined oil bears relatively higher smoke point and thus can withstand prolonged heat and light. They hold longer shelf life too. However, you won't get as much health benefits as you would from extra-virgin class.

I always recommend people to buy extra-virgin olive oil and eat it in its most natural form without cooking in order to reap its full nutritional benefits. And when you buy, remember to follow the aforementioned tips to get the best olive oil off the shelf.