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Top 5 ways to incorporate more extra virgin olive oil into your diet

Top 5 ways to incorporate more extra virgin olive oil into your diet

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is widely recognised as one of the world’s healthiest oils.  In fact, people tend to live longer and healthier lives in regions where EVOO is a staple part of the diet. It is a key part of the Mediterranean Diet, where it is used liberally in cooking and as a dressing.  On average, 25-50mL (2-3TB) of EVOO per day is most strongly associated with health benefits in healthy populations, as well as those with chronic disease risk factors1-5.  However, in Australia most people are only consuming roughly 1 tablespoon per day6. Read on to see our top 5 tips for incorporating more EVOO into your day!

1. Use extra virgin olive oil in baking

Many people are unaware that extra virgin olive oil can be used to replace butter in baking!  As a general rule, when baking replace butter with ¾ of the amount of extra virgin olive oil. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, instead you can use ¾ cup of EVOO. To ensure a subtle taste, choose a light/delicate flavoured EVOO variety. You can learn more about using EVOO in baking here.

2. Swap butter for extra virgin olive oil on toast and bread

EVOO also makes a great replacement for butter on sandwiches, with crusty bread or on toast. Again, using a light/delicate variety is a great option for toast and sandwiches, but a robust variety pairs perfectly with crusty bread.

3. Finish your dishes with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

EVOO is the perfect salad dressing, either on its own or combined with other ingredients like balsamic vinegar, mustard or honey.  EVOO can also be used at the end of the cooking process, drizzled over cooked vegetables, meat or pasta. This will not only add healthy fats, but also extra flavour. Be liberal with the amount you drizzle, and try choosing a robust variety to really experience the EVOO taste.  

4. Roasting

Roasting is a delicious way to get in your extra virgin olive oil, from caramelising crispy potatoes to making juicy roast beef. It’s a simple form of cooking as all you have to do is put the food in the oven and wait, especially if the vegetables are already chopped and prepped! A good rule of thumb is to aim for one tablespoon of EVOO per cup of vegetables.

5. Marinating

Marinating meats, other proteins and even vegetables can be a great way to add flavour to your food and add extra EVOO to your diet.  There are plenty of different types of marinade, but a quick and easy way to start is to simply mix EVOO, an acid (e.g. lemon, orange or vinegar) and flavours (e.g. herbs, spices, garlic, honey, or mustard).  Aim for a 3:1 ratio of EVOO to acid and add as much flavour as you’d like!

Extra virgin olive oil is extremely versatile and can be used for both high temperature cooking, as well as finishing meals. It can also be used across breakfast, lunch and dinner and in savoury as well as sweet meals. With so many usage occasions, consuming the recommended 2-3 tablespoons doesn’t have to be difficult!

View article references

  1. Hernáez Á, et al. Olive oil polyphenols enhance high-density lipoprotein function in humans: a randomized controlled trial. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Sep;34(9):2115-9.
  2. Hernáez Á, et al. Olive Oil Polyphenols Decrease LDL Concentrations and LDL Atherogenicity in Men in a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Nutr. 2015 Aug;145(8):1692-7.
  3. Castañer O, et al. EUROLIVE Study Group. The effect of olive oil polyphenols on antibodies against oxidized LDL. A randomized clinical trial. Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;30(4):490-3.
  4. Castañer O, et al. Protection of LDL from oxidation by olive oil polyphenols is associated with a downregulation of CD40-ligand expression and its downstream products in vivo in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 May;95(5):1238-44.
  5. Moreno-Luna R, Munoz-Hernandez R, Miranda ML, et al. Olive oil polyphenols decrease blood pressure and improve endothelial function in young women with mild hypertension. Am J Hypertens. 2012;25:1299–304.
  6. Wilson NA, Villani A, Mantzioris E. Preferences for dietary oils and fats in cooking and food preparation methods: a crosssectional analysis of Australian adults. Br J Nutr. 2022 Dec 2:1-11.