Olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, one of the so-called healthy fats. According to Donald Hensrud, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic, monounsaturated fatty acids, known as MUFAs can help reduce your risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol and normalizing blood clotting. However, this does not always apply to highly refined, low quality olive oils marketed as light olive oil or extra light olive oil. Yes, not all olive oil brands are born equal and finding a brand that provides high quality at a good value can be a challenge.
Whole Foods 365 Extra Virgin Oil
Whole Foods' 365 Extra Virgin Oil tops the ranks of several food critic publications such as ConsumerResearch.com, Good Housekeeping and SeriousEats.com. Critics appreciate its robust olive taste, high quality and modest price tag. Whole Foods 365 is made from extra virgin olive oil, unrefined oil from the first press of ripened olives. Whatever your budget, opt for extra virgin oils; your taste buds will appreciate it.
Monini Extra Virgin Oil
Monini, is an Italian extra virgin oil that has the characteristic lightness you would expect from a high quality extra virgin oil but with the added rich and complex overtones lacking in other brands. It is a multi-purpose olive oil, which performs just as well in a salad as in pesto or for cooking shellfish. However, it does have a rather potent peppery kick, so you may want to buy a small taster to start with.
Columela Extra Virgin Oil
Columela, a high-end Spanish premium extra virgin olive oil, ranks first on Cooks Illustrated's recommended list of premium olive oils. It has a slightly fruity, bold olive flavor and medium to high consistency and texture. Spanish olive oils are often a good choice because they carry the same high quality and tradition of the renowned Italian varieties, but without the inflated price tag.
Colavita Extra Virgin Oil
Colavita Extra Virgin Oil is made exclusively from Italian olives and is also pressed in Italy. It is not the most exciting olive oil around and does not land on the top of any of the prestigious food reviews, but it consistently appears in reviews as a solid option for cooks with moderate budgets who are looking for a middle-of-the-road choice. It has a mellow, but well balanced, flavor that will please the less adventurous oil samplers looking for a light and safe option.
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