Olive Oil is my nutritional equivalent to the perfect date, the one where you walk away feeling slightly weak in the knees. I’m not quite crazy enough that olive oil makes me weak in the knees, but I do get just as excited to buy a new bottle of olive oil as I do opening a new sponge (which is the best thing ever). Olive oil is unique among the oils because it is packed with antioxidants and monounsaturated fats (the healthy ones that your heart loves). In fact olive oil is as powerful an anti-inflammatory as ibuprofen.  Chances are you probably already know just how amazing olive oil is, and I don’t need to convert you, but this is a nutrition blog so humor me. As well as having some pretty amazing anti-inflammatory benefits, olive oil has been shown to have cancer preventative properties, and can even protect the health of our gut bacteria. See what I mean about that perfect date?

The only problem with olive oil is that it’s kind of complicated to buy. But no ones perfect right? In fact olive oil has become so fraught with mishaps that the EU created a task force under their anti-fraud office just to track the quality of olive oil. A TASK FORCE FOR OLIVE OIL!!! In 2007 an article appeared in the New York Times called “Slippery Business” by Tom Mueller. He reported that in the late 90’s olive oil had become the most adulterated agricultural product in Europe. A remarkable amount of lower quality nut oils have been packaged and shipped as extra virgin olive oil. If I’m about to spend $20 on a bottle of olive oil, it better actually be olive oil, know what I’m saying? So without further ado here are some tips for making sure that the olive oil you’re about to buy is going to take you on one incredible date.


Buy Cold Pressed Extra Virgin

Extra virgin olive oil is the oil produced from the first gentle pressing of olives. It hasn’t been treated with chemicals or refined by temperature. So it has the most health benefits without all the extra nonsense.

Look For Stamps Of Authenticity

On the front or back of most quality oils there will be a stamp of quality. Look for the California seal of good quality or the international quality insurance stamp. I typically choose California olive oils because they have stricter requirements (and no anti-fraud task force).


Buy Dark Green Containers

Olive oil is very easily damaged by exposure to light and heat… meaning you won’t be getting all those awesome health benefits if it hasn’t been properly handled and stored. Look for glass bottles with a dark green tint and avoid plastic if you can. Keep your olive oil away from windows and preferably in a cool, dark pantry.


Taste It Like A Fine Glass of Wine

I know this wont be quite as enjoyable as a glass of vino, but whip out that olive oil and have your own glorious tasting party. Good olive oil will have a fruity or grassy smell with a peppery after taste. Look out for rancid oil. This one is a biggie, but your nose can detect rancidity once you know how to recognize it. Rancidity smells kind of like crayons or oil paint. If you open a new bottle of oil and get a whiff of this, take it back to the grocery store and they should be happy to exchange it for you (and throw out any oil that has that nasty smell; olive oil does have an expiration date).

You can find some great options at Trader Joes or other health food stores like Sprouts for $10 or less. Sometimes I’ll grab a smaller bottle of a pricier olive oil that I use only for dressings (it really does make a difference) and keep a cheaper one on hand for cooking.

Now grab that olive oil and that glass of wine and get to tasting!

I would love to know what brands are you favorite so comment below!//