ASK THE EXPERTS

Is it safe to cook with olive oil?

a glass jug and small bowl of olive oil

Dietitian Melissa Meier take a look at whether extra-virgin olive oil is suitable for cooking with.

Q Everyone talks about the health benefits of extra-virgin olive oil, but I always thought it was best for salad dressings only. Can I cook with it too?

Gaye, via facebook

A Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is incredibly good for you because it’s jam-packed with healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful, disease-fighting antioxidants. This combination supports a healthy heart by improving your cholesterol profile and reducing blood pressure. What’s more, the beneficial compounds in EVOO can help to lower inflammation and even fight ageing.

You might have heard of the term ‘smoke point’ in the context of choosing suitable cooking oils. However, research shows smoke point is not the best measure. Although other oils have a higher smoke point, EVOO is one of the most stable oils thanks to its unique combination of healthy fats and antioxidants. Studies reveal EVOO produces less harmful compounds when heated than many other oils.

So the good news is you can most certainly cook with extra-virgin olive oil, and use it not just for salad dressings. In fact, it’s what I recommend. You can fry, stir-fry, bake and even deep-fry (occasionally!) with EVOO. Go ahead and pour the good oil.

First published: Dec 2021

Go to homepage*Subsequent months will be $2.75