About Olive Oil
health benefits :: types of olive oil :: storing olive oil :: using olive oil


Extra Virgin Olive Oil
–a key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet-
is a prime source of antioxidants.

olive oil bottle

Research has shown that diets which include a regular intake of extra virgin olive oil –
the only olive oil that has high levels of polyphenols - provide the following benefits:
lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease, reduced blood pressure.
AND it is recommended as the best vegetable oil for heart health.

References: Journal of Nutrition, Jan 2007; Annals of Neurology 19/04/06; Annals of International Medicine, Vol 145
More information can be found at the follwing links:



Oil from olives comes in many different categories. The main ones you see in shops are:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) which has to meet the highest chemical and sensory standards set by the International Olive Oil Association. Only EVOO, with its high polyphenol count, has all of the health benefits.                                      The new Australian Code of Practice guarantees that Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil bearing the symbol of quality assurance is what it says it is. And of course, Australian Extra Virgin Oil is fresher and has a smaller carbon footprint than imported oils.
  • Virgin Olive Oil is a lower standard of oil that often has some defects, though can still be used in dishes where the special flavours of olive oil are often masked.
  • Olive Oil is the next category of oil. It is useful as cooking oil, but lacks the flavour and sensory qualities of EVOO.
  • Lamparte Oil (the word does mean “lamp”!) is the lowest grade of olive oil, and is not recommended for eating.
  • Lite Olive Oil & Pure Olive Oil are cooking oils only: the residue from the pressing of olives is treated chemically to remove the last of the oil (producing refined oil), and sometimes mixed with olive oil. Lite oil is NOT light in fats, only in flavour!

The Australian Olive Association is working towards consistent labelling for all grades of oil, especially so that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is accurately labelled on both Australian and imported oils.



Oil deteriorates with exposure to sunlight, oxygen and heat.
The polyphenols which add extra health benefits are affected by those three elements.
It is best to store Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a dark, well sealed container in a cool dark place.
Use unopened oil within 2 years of harvest date, though if stored properly, it will be good cooking oil for longer than that.
Refrigeration is not necessary, but if you do store olive oil in the fridge or cold cellar, some of the constituents will partly solidify; once at room temperature, it will return to its liquid state and be as good as oil stored in warmer conditions. It is uncertain if cold storage will prolong the life of an oil any more than cool, dark and low oxygen conditions.


Olive oil has been used for centuries as a food, skin conditioner and lamp fluid.

Cosmetic uses
Castile soap is an age-old olive oil based soap still available today.
Olive oil is used by artisan soap makers and the luxury cosmetic firms to make the best quality soaps, skin lotions and creams.
Olive oil can be used by itself – a sensuous and inexpensive beauty treatment!
Here are a few quick ideas, and you can read more at the links below:

Bath oil
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to your bath, with a sprig of rosemary or a few drops of essential oil.

Skin lotion
Keep olive oil in a wide mouthed jar in your bathroom.
After cleansing, dip your fingertips in the oil, and smooth oil into face and neck.
Blot any excess with a cloth. Use as a skin bliss treatment all over the body after a shower.

Hair and scalp conditioner
Massage oil into your scalp and leave for an hour at least before washing.