Choosing a good olive oil is hard and confusing. And it’s not your fault. Wherever you are in the world, the market is full of poor-quality olive oil, contradictory and confusing information, and the price is not always an accurate indicator of quality. That’s why, with Dr. Steven Gundry’s help, I compiled this helpful guide with tips on how to pick the best olive oil.
If you are a fan of The Plant Paradox and are familiar with Dr. Steven Gundry’s older and more recent work, you know he is an olive oil fanatic and he is even the creator of three exquisite olive oil products. So I thought, what better person to help me compile this guide than Dr. Gundry himself.
And in the process of writing this article, I realized I even made a few mistakes in the past and bought olive oils of poor quality. Well, we live and learn. The good news is, I don’t think I’ll make that mistake again, now that I have this guide.
Read on to find out everything you need to look for when buying olive oil.
How much olive oil do you recommend people consume for good health/to reap health benefits?
Before we get into the guide, I wanted to clarify how much good quality olive oil we should aim to consume to reap the benefits.
“A liter of olive oil a week”, says Dr. Gundry. He gives as an example the populations in the blue zones like Sardinians, Cretes, Acerois which have been using olive oil as their main cooking and finishing fat for thousands of years.
“Take shots if you have to! I always say that the purpose of food is to get olive oil into your mouth.”
What are the first things we should check on a bottle?
After making sure it’s first-cold pressed and organic – the main thing to look for is the PRESS, HARVEST or PRODUCTION date. Since olives need to be pressed the same day they are harvested, these dates are pretty much the same thing.
However, even if this is important, many manufacturers skip the information about the production date. You don’t want to eat rancid olive oil or anything that’s gone rancid, for that matter. According to Dr. Gundry, when olive oil goes rancid, it develops free radicals that attack your system.
Does olive oil expire?
Yes, it does. Usually within two, even three years from the production date, if kept in proper conditions (dark, cool) but some experts say that for the best quality, it should be consumed within six months from the PRODUCTION date. That’s why is good to find an olive oil batch from the latest harvest.
This is a case of “do the best you can, with what you have”. Maybe the best of the best is not always available to us, but we should be aware of what to look for in an olive oil to make sure we get the best quality we can get.
After your olive oil bottle is open, you should try to finish it off within six months or less (two, three months will ensure optimal freshness).
What does it mean for olive oil to be polyphenol-rich?
Polyphenols are the main reason we consume olive oil and what gives the olive oil its extraordinary health benefits.
In general, the more it makes you cough / burns the back of your throat – the more polyphenols. So, look for olive oil grown in high altitudes (the more stress olive trees undergo, the more polyphenols). Most labels won’t tell you that. But look for flavor profiles on labels that say ‘bitter’, ‘peppery’ and avoid ‘light’ olive oils.
Gundry MD Polyphenol-Rich Olive Oil, says Dr. Gundry, is high in polyphenols because the farmer has done everything he can to stress roots: planted in rocks, in the desert, underwatered.
Does it matter where it comes from?
Yes, certainly, but not in the way we would think. There are good quality olive oils everywhere olives are grown: Italy, Greece, Morocco, California, Chile, Australia, Spain, France, Portugal, etc.
But we have to be careful with how we read labels as they can trick us. For example, ‘BOTTLED in Italy, or California’ doesn’t mean the olive oil is produced in Italy or California. In fact, if you look more carefully at the label, you will most probably see multiple countries listed as ‘ORIGIN’. Do not buy olive oil that has more countries of origin.
To give you an example. California Olive Ranch, a brand easy to find in US stores, makes these two types of olive oil. One that is a ‘Global Blend‘, which if you look at the label, comes from four different countries: Argentina, Chile, Portugal, California.
And another one called ‘California Olive Ranch 100% California’ comes from olives 100% grown on their own farms in California. Well, can you guess which one is the better quality? When Dr. Gundry endorses The California Olive Ranch olive oil, he refers to the one grown 100% in California.
Full disclosure: I was one of the people buying the blend.
Is it safe to cook with olive oil?
Somehow, especially in the US, there is a misconception that is not safe to cook with olive oil, so I wanted to clarify that. Additional to what Dr. Gundry told me below, I would say to only use low to medium heat. High heat cooking is not healthy anyway, whatever oil you use.
So, how to pick the best olive oil?
You want to look for a single-origin, extra virgin, first cold-press, organic olive oil. If all these criteria are met, most probably the olive oil comes in a dark, glass bottle or tin. Once you open a bottle, don’t forget to store your olive oil in a dark, cool place. Better in your pantry than next to your stove or on the counter.
Look for these indicators for the best quality olive oil:
- Comes in a dark, glass bottle or tin.
- It’s first-cold press, extra virgin olive oil.
- Organic is always the best option, but do the best you can.
- It reveals the HARVEST / PRODUCTION / PRESS date (not only the BEST BY date).
- The above date should be as close as possible to the date you are buying to ensure freshness. Preferably, you want olive oil from the latest harvest.
- It’s single-origin olive oil, fully traceable. You can buy good olive oil from any country with tradition, as long as it meets these criteria.
- If you can taste it, the more bitter or if it burns your throat, the more polyphenols.
Gundry MD Olive Oil
I absolutely love the three olive oil products Dr. Gundry created. They are some of the most intense and flavorful olive oil products I’ve ever tasted.
Supercharged with 30x more hydroxytyrosol polyphenols than conventional olive oil, the Polyphenol-Rich Olive Oil takes the benefits of this traditional food to the next level.
With its rich, musky intense olive flavor, this sumptuous olive oil is not only a supplement to your health but also the ultimate topper for avocado toast, eggs, salads, vegetables. You can add it to a smoothie, make pesto, or just take a shot of it.
Chef’s Select Organic Olive Oil is a brand new way to enjoy the benefits of high-quality olive oil packaged in a high-grade oil that’s perfect for cooking.
Gundry MD Chef’s Select Organic Olive Oil is grown in an incredibly unique environment in Morocco, known as “LES TERROIRS DE MARRAKECH.” The result is a robust, delicious olive oil you can use to cook healthy, elevated meals for your family.
And now, for the caviar of the olive oil, the Gundry MD Polyphenol Pearls, what can I say? It is indeed something exquisite, a potent and clean product made with certified organic olive tree extract and olive oil, first-cold press.
Add as a finishing touch on roasted or sauteed vegetables, it has great umami, strong olive flavor. I absolutely love it with sauteed escarole (picture below) and with steamed artichokes (picture above).
You can SAVE more than 25% on ALL Gundry MD olive oil products, on my Ambassador Store. You will find olive oils under food products and see the ambassador savings in red.
Dr. Gundry’s Olive Oil Walnut Spice Cake
Speaking of Gundry MD olive oil, check out one of Dr. G’s most famous recipes: Dr. Gundry’s Olive Oil Walnut Spice Cake. You will find the original recipe, which is made in an Instant Pot, and my own version, baked in the oven and with added strawberries.
*This post contains affiliated links, which means I get a commission if you choose to purchase something via one of my links, at no extra cost to you.