Cooking with olive oil, harvested from olive trees in Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy, Olive oil can increase the health benefits of stir-frying. The United States Food and Drug Administration has announced that olive oil may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Like green tea, olive oil is thought to lower the level of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol that can clog arteries. The FDA report states that only two tablespoons a day may be enough to lower cholesterol levels because olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat, but low in saturated and polyunsaturated fat.
What Kind of Olive Oil is Best?
There are three grades of olive oil: extra-virgin, virgin and olive oil (this last grade is also called pure olive oil). For stir-frying, it’s best to stick with olive oil, and stay away from the extra-virgin and virgin grades. Standard olive oil goes through a more rigorous refining process than extra-virgin and virgin olive oils. This gives it a higher smoking point, meaning that it can take the high heat needed for stir-frying.
Deep-Frying is Another Story
The smoking point of olive oil varies between 375 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit (190.5 to 200 degrees Celsius), which can be a little low. You may want to stick with other types of vegetable oil, such as canola, or peanut oil for deep-frying.