How often do you stand in front of the supermarket shelf and wonder why you should buy extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and not just regular olive oil?

Let’s take the pain out of that decision for you!

EVOO is the closest you will get to the pure goodness that fresh olives offer because it undergoes the least processing. The direct result is that EVOOs are higher in antioxidants, vitamins, healthy fats, anti-inflammatories and other natural ingredients – all of which have health benefits. The more the olives are processed and the longer they are stored, the fewer the benefits.

The taste properties are also better preserved in EVOOs, therefore the fruitiness, pepperiness and balancing bitterness are more detectable.

Before an olive oil can be called an EVOO, it must undergo rigorous chemical testing and tasting by a panel of experts. The first thing expert tasters look for is the presence of any defects. For instance, if the oil is rancid, musty or vinegary, it cannot be rated as EVOO. The next test is for the balance between fruitiness, pepperiness and bitterness. A good EVOO is a beautiful harmony between all these positive attributes.

In South Africa, EVOOs are awarded with the CTC (Commitment to Compliance) seal only if they meet a set of international standards AND pass the SA Olive tasting panel’s test. Remember to look out for the CTC seal when shopping for olive oil.

Also, keep in mind that EVOO contains mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, which means it is highly resistant to heat – even when deep-frying.

EVOO is a staple ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which has long been considered to be one of the healthiest in the world.

We live in a time where health is at the forefront of our thoughts. Don’t compromise on the quality of your olive oil. It’s an effortless – and delicious – way to give your health a daily boost.