VIRGIN vs. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is considered a longevity food with health-boosting properties that may not only help you feel better but may also help you live longer. First up, this liquid gold is likely something you’ve already got somewhere in the kitchen.
Olives contain polyphenols, a large group of compounds that are found in many plant-derived foods and that have been linked to an array of potential benefits. The less processed olive oil is, the more polyphenols it retains. Extra virgin olive oil is least processed. The European Food Safety Authority allows bottlers of olive oil with high polyphenol content to make a heart health claim. Heating olive oil destroys some of these compounds. Keep in mind that olive oil is hardly unique—polyphenol intake from many foods (notably chocolate, tea, fruits, and vegetables) is associated with a wide range of health benefits.
Olive oil can vary widely in flavor and color depending on the variety of olives used and the region they come from. Olives for the best olive oils are often harvested by hand, a cost that is passed on to the consumer.
Virgin Olive Oils
These are extracted from olives solely by mechanical means, without chemicals.
Olive oil is the highest grade. Industry standards stipulate that extra-virgin olive oil must meet numerous chemical parameters and sensory standards. In a test by a trained taste panel using official protocols, an extra-virgin olive oil will have no defects of aroma or flavor, and some positive flavor of green and/or ripe olives. It is more expensive to produce because of the higher costs at each stage of production, from grove to bottle.
Olive oil simply labeled “virgin” has slight defects in aroma or flavor and has to meet lower chemical standards, so it is less expensive.