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What Is Organic Olive Oil?

Olive tree.
Ciabatta bread is often served with olive oil.
Olive oil is great for cooking a variety of meals.
Containers of olive oil.
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  • Written By: B. Turner
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2014
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Organic olive oil is made by crushing and pressing olives to extract their rich, flavorful oils. While there are many kinds of olive oil on the market, those marked as organic are generally produced using sustainable methods. This may include growing and harvesting the olives without harsh chemicals or pesticides. Compared to standard olive oil, organic olive oil is often has an improved taste and nutritional value. It also creates less damage to the environment throughout its production cycle.

The majority of world agriculture is grown using chemical-based fertilizers or pesticides. These chemicals can leech into the food they are use to grow, ultimately impacting human health. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers also end up in world water supplies, and even in the air, where they contribute to pollution and global warming. These chemicals also disrupt animal and plant life. Organic olive oil is produced without these types of chemicals, making it better for both human health and the environment.

It is important to understand the various types of olive oil and how they are made. Extra virgin organic olive oil is made from the very first pressing of a crop of olives. Virgin olive oil is made from the second pressing, and tends to offer fewer nutrients than extra virgin varieties. Organic olive oil marked as regular or pure is typically cut with other oils, such as canola or vegetable.

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One of the primary advantages to choosing organic olive oil is its improved flavor and nutritional contents. Organic oils generally contain higher levels of antioxidants, which help to reduce the risk of cancer. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which protect the heart by lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol readings. Organic olive oil also tends to taste better than standard varieties, and is free of harmful chemicals.

Before purchasing olive oil based on an organic label, buyers should understand how organic labeling works. Each country uses its own system of product certification, and many rely on a multitude of organic labeling bodies. Prior to making a purchase, users should check which organization certified the product. By reviewing this organization's standards, buyers can determine if the product meets their expectations. This may include reviewing how exactly the certification body maintains and tests products, as well as what its standards are for labeling a product as organic.

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