Nouvelles Du Monde

Comment bien choisir son huile d’olive pour la santé et le goût ?

Comment bien choisir son huile d’olive pour la santé et le goût ?

Good for health, good in taste: olive oil combines all qualities… as long as you know how to choose it. The magazine 60 millions de consommateurs has just revealed its favorite, which is not without surprises, highlighting the difficulty of choosing good products among the variety offered on the market.

Olive oil needs no introduction, recognized for its taste as well as its health benefits. Today, it has become a staple in our kitchens and was the subject of an investigation published in May 2023 by 60 millions de consommateurs, a reference for consumer information – neck and neck with the association UFC Que choisir. Not surprisingly, the top product praised by the magazine is an extra virgin olive oil from the Primadonna brand… sold at Lidl! The product is the only one that does not contain any of the pollutants identified during the investigation. If the store is not near you, don’t worry: in second and third place are Provence olive oil, Reflets de France AOP, and Monini Classico organic olive oil. The price is higher, but both bottles are sold by the Carrefour store. This raises the ultimate question: why and how to choose the right olive oil?

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The answer is simple: high-quality olive oil will have more benefits for your health than a low-quality oil. Here are some of the advantages associated with regular consumption of high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

The multiple health benefits of olive oil

First and foremost, olive oil is a major source of monounsaturated fatty acids (or omega-9), especially oleic acid. These monounsaturated fats help reduce LDL cholesterol levels (or “bad cholesterol”) while preserving HDL cholesterol levels (the “good cholesterol”). It is also rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which help fight against free radicals in the body.

These compounds are associated with anti-inflammatory effects and the protection of cells against oxidative stress. They help maintain cardiovascular health. Furthermore, consuming olive oil as part of a Mediterranean diet is associated with better cognitive health and a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease! Lastly, it promotes healthy digestion, especially by facilitating the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.

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With dozens of brands and different bottles lining the shelves, how do you choose? Here are some criteria to consider when purchasing a quality product.

Choosing the right olive oil

Firstly, your oil should be extra virgin, as it is the least processed and retains more nutrients. It is mechanically extracted, without the use of chemicals, and must have an oleic acidity below 0.8%. In 2020, several olive oils produced in Tunisia – known for their excellent olive production – were “downgraded” by UFC Que choisir. The association (unofficially) removed the “Extra” title after publishing an investigation revealing the presence of dibutyl phthalate – a plasticizer – in bottles from the brands Terre Delyssa, La Vie Claire, and Bio Village, indicating transport or storage in PVC tanks prohibited by regulations. The label does not tell the whole story, so it’s better to inquire.

Opt for cold-pressed olive oils. Cold-press extraction means the olives are mechanically pressed at low temperatures, usually below 27°C. This method helps preserve the oil’s flavors, nutrients, and beneficial properties.

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Pay attention to the origin of your bottle, and favor oils from regions known for their quality production, such as Italy, Greece, Spain, or southern France.

Packaging should not be overlooked! Your olive oil should be sold in a tinted or opaque container to protect the oil from light that can alter its quality. As for the bottle material, glass is generally the best option as it better shields the oil from light and oxidation. It also avoids any interaction between the oil and plastic, especially if stored for an extended period.

Organic olive oils are usually produced without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, making them interesting from this perspective. Many brands highlight the natural qualities of their product, but only the “AB” label certifies that the oil comes from organic farming.

In general, a good extra virgin olive oil will have a fresh aroma and fruity, herbaceous, or spicy flavors… the rest is a matter of taste!

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2024-03-13 15:45:03


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