The Mediterranean Diet and Olive Oil: A Buying Guide

By Vanessa Evens A Recent ASU Nutrition Student


If you’re anything like me, then looking at the olive oil aisle of the grocery store is completely overwhelming. Now that you know all about the Med Diet, you’re probably wondering how you choose the most heart-healthy version of olive oil to incorporate into your daily lives.


Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, meaning that it helps with inflammation. As I mentioned in my last post, the healthy fats in olive oil are responsible for reducing the risk of diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. An added bonus is that the healthy fats in olive oil will help to keep you fuller longer! Arizona has several farmers with olive groves that than turn their product into olive oil, a nice way to buy local.

How to pick the best olive oil

Extra Virgin olive oils contain something called polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants and they help to combat damage to the cells.  Fresh oils have the highest amount of polyphenols, and the number of polyphenols diminishes as the oil ages or is exposed to light or heat. What does that mean for your purchasing selections?

  1. Choose an extra virgin olive oil that is in a dark glass or metal bottle.
  2. Choose an oil that has been cold pressed or cold extracted. If olives are extracted under heat they yield more oil, but the polyphenols are decreased.
  3. Check the bottle for the date the oil was harvested and choose a bottle that’s date is within 15 months from when you purchase.
  4. Cooking with olive oil on a med-low heat helps to preserve the structure of the olive oil as well.
  5. Don’t stress about whether it’s organic or not, or where it’s from. The most important thing is that it is cold pressed EVOO.


Interested in buying local? Check out the cold pressed options from right here in AZ!


Hopefully, this will help make your decision a little easier. Happy Shopping!


Looking for more articles to help boost your healthy living? Check out our Fill Your Plate Blog. Looking for some recipes that the whole family will enjoy? Check out the recipe section on our website.




  1. Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan. (2019, January 26). Retrieved from
  3. Seidenberg, C. (2018, February 14). Olive oil options can be dizzying. Which is best for you? Retrieved from
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