Olive oil has amazing health benefits that it has been found to fight against cancer, reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, may help prevent strokes, fight osteoporosis, may protect against depression, prevent against breast and skin cancer, and reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease. Studies have shown that this oil can help you stay healthy. However, it also can become hazardous when it is overheated or what experts refer to it as the “smoke point,” defined as the temperature point at which it starts to smoke. All types of oils overheat at various temperatures. When it reaches that point, experts believe olive oil loses trace nutrients and antioxidants as well as turns into harmful and potentially a toxic compound. It becomes filled with carcinogenic free radical, which can cause cancer.
So when is the smoke point for extra virgin oil? Many sources states that it overheats between 325-420°F (163-215°C) and while refined olive oil is often estimated around 468°F (242°C). In short, if you use the oil to cook your food at 415°F (213°C), the oil will burn and your food will be bitter and carcinogenic. You should NOT cook these foods in olive oil: lamb, burgers, pork, fish, steak, roasting chicken, or vegetables that are cooked over 400°F (204°C).
Never use olive oil when you are cooking in woks because they are used for cooking with high-heat. In addition, never use olive oil when you are stir-frying food in a regular pan or when you are deep frying foods, such as potatoes or chicken. Recommended oil with a high smoke point like canola should be used for cooking your foods, if preferred.
Unfortunately, when the oil overheats, it does more harm than good so cooking with the oil is only recommended on low heat or as a finishing touch on your salads or on any food you desire. Olive oil should not be cut from your diet, but avoid using it to cook your food.
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