Foundation Diet and Health
Diet and Health
QR Code
The best perspective for your health
This page was translated through Google Translator

Olive oil (cold pressed, raw?, organic?)

Olive oil is given too much importance. It has three times less Omega-3 than rapeseed oil. We use too much oil. See text with scientific studies. Raw? Organic?
Macronutrient carbohydrates 0%
Macronutrient proteins 0%
Macronutrient fats 100%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 8.8g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, 0.8g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 12:1

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Here, essential linolenic acid (LA) 8.78 g to essential alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) 0.76 g = 12:1.
Ratio Total omega-6 = 8.78 g to omega-3 fatty acids Total = 0.76 g = 12:1.
On average, we need about 2 g of LA and ALA per day from which a healthy body also produces EPA and DHA, etc.

Economic forces and lobbying make olive oil appear to be a cult oil, although rapeseed oil , for example, has three times more omega-3 fatty acids. In addition: Prof. Dr. Dean Ornish , USA, and other American health promoters recommend avoiding oil if possible.

Use in the kitchen:

Which olive oil for what? Cold-pressed olive oil ( organic ) is used primarily for salads or to refine soups and various dishes. In Mediterranean cuisine, this oil is a defining aromatic element. It harmonizes very well with garlic, rosemary , thyme, parsley, oregano, paprika powder or chili.

How high can you heat olive oil? Virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 180 °C and is therefore suitable for frying and gentle deep-frying. However, the heat at this point destroys the antioxidant substances of the phenol and tocopherol group. 1

Without heating, olive oil can also be used to flavor raw or cooked vegetables, meat, potatoes, grains, pasta or cheese dishes. Olive oil is one of the main ingredients in pestos, tapenades and other Mediterranean spreads. Herb or spice oils are often made from olive oil and tasty spices that are left to steep for some time.

Garlic, mushrooms, dried tomatoes, olives, cream cheese or hard cheese, peperoncini, eggplant, artichokes, carrots and much more can also be preserved in olive oil and thus preserved for longer. 2 This is how many of the traditional antipasti (Italy) or tapas (Spain) came about.

Connoisseurs say that olive oil should taste slightly bitter and spicy and may even scratch the throat a little.

Vegan recipe for flavored olive oil:

Put 1-2 dried bay leaves , 4-5 dried tomatoes , 1 teaspoonof black peppercorns (slightly crushed) in a bottle and fill with 500 ml of extra virgin olive oil (organic). Leave in a dark, cool place for about 3-4 weeks and then use for salads, dressings, etc. Do not heat!

Spices or herbs such as thyme , rosemary , sage , lemon peel , vanilla pod , chili peppers, etc. are also suitable. However, these ingredients should only be used dried .

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Shopping - where to buy?

No question: you can buy olive oil in every supermarket and at every major retailer such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer etc. Cold-pressed olive oil in organic quality can now also be bought in most supermarkets, but definitely in organic markets, organic shops and health food stores.

The best and rarest oil is said to be the drip oil that seeps out of the olives before pressing. After that comes the cold-pressed olive oil with the quality class "extra virgin" or "extra virgin". Natural oil with small defects is called "virgin". Refined oils come from conventional mass production and have a very mild taste, mostly blended with virgin oils. Organically produced olive oil comes from olives that have been carefully processed (at low temperatures of up to 27 °C). 10 By law, the terms "first cold pressing" and "cold extraction" are only permitted if the temperatures do not exceed 27 °C. 13,14,15

Cold-pressed oils (laws, raw food)

In Switzerland, oil is generally referred to as cold-pressed oil when the oilseed has not been heated, the pressing temperature has not exceeded 50 °C and no problematic post-treatment has taken place.

According to the Federal Department of Home Affairs ( FDHA ), an edible oil is considered cold-pressed (or may be referred to by synonyms such as (extra) virgin, unrefined, cold-pressed or natural) if it is obtained by pressing or centrifuging from raw materials that have not been heated beforehand, the temperature during pressing did not exceed 50 °C and there was no refining, i.e. no neutralisation, no treatment with adsorbents, bleaching earth and no steaming . 16

An oil may be described as “gently steamed” if the refining process was limited to steaming and did not exceed 130 °C . 16

In the EU and the USA, there does not appear to be a generally applicable temperature limit set by law for cold-pressed oils. For example, the guidelines for edible fats and oils of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (D) are similar to the EDI regulation, but they do not specify a permissible maximum temperature for general cold pressing - since they only apply to products whose labelling and composition are not conclusively set by law (i.e. not for olive oil, cocoa butter, milk fats, spreadable fats, for example). 17

On the other hand, both the EU directives and the EDI regulation on foods of plant origin, mushrooms and table salt (and their amendments) provide for a special rule for the labelling of olive oils . 13,14,16,19

These are selective marketing rules in which the term raw food is not defined. "Raw food" and "raw" are therefore not state-protected terms (as is the case with the term "organic"), which leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Although it is agreed that with purely mechanical cold pressing, the pressing temperatures generally do not exceed 40 °C, one should not naively assume that cooking oils are of raw food quality. There is a suspicion that the measuring method used does not indicate the temperature in the press cylinder (where the heat is highest), but only the outlet temperature in the oil hose. With water-cooled olive oil presses (so-called "water-cooled 37°" oil presses), one probably cannot even say with certainty what the temperature is inside the press cylinder because the entire press cylinder is surrounded by cooling sleeves.

In addition, the pressing pressure and speed as well as the moisture content of the oilseed influence the pressing temperature. 18

How much does a good olive oil cost? In 2018, a test report by Stiftung Warentest showed olive oils of the highest quality (extra virgin) that are available for between 24 and 36 euros per liter. Only three received the grade "good". In the video shown above (Marktcheck), the reporter warns against statements such as "mixture of olive oils" or "virgin olive oil from the EU" because there is a risk that these are adulterated bottlings. If you want to be sure, buy cold-pressed olive oil in organic quality and with information about the place of origin.


Since olive oil contains few noble and high-quality polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), it can be stored easily for a long time. However, it is better to store this oil in a cool place and away from light. If stored in a cool place, streaks can form that make the oil appear cloudy. These dissolve again at higher temperatures.

Ingredients - nutritional value - calories:

The main component of olive oil (and other vegetable oils) are fatty acids (triglycerides) bound to glycerine. This oil also contains 55-83% oleic acid, 7-20% palmitic acid, 3-21% linoleic acid, 0-5% stearic acid and 0-4% palmitoleic acid. Unsaponifiable components such as sterols, squalene and chlorophyll are also included, as well as very small amounts of phospholipids, carotenoids, α-tocopherol (vitamin E), vitamin K , vitamin A and iron .

The ratio between polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids (P/S ratio) is significantly below the recommended value of 1.0. Of the more well-known oils, only coconut oil and palm kernel oil (palm oil, palm fat) have higher proportions of saturated fatty acids. Much higher, though! In addition, soybean oil and oil from cotton seeds, etc., as well as margarine , also have higher proportions.

Olive oil is directly opposed to rapeseed oil because it can be used for the same purposes. It contains about half the saturated fats of olive oil. But that is not the main reason why rapeseed oil is much healthier than olive oil . The most important difference, and one that has really been noticed since the 21st century, is the ratio between the omega-6 fatty acid (called linoleic acid , LA, which has an inflammatory effect after being converted into arachidonic acid (AA)) and the omega-3 fatty acid (called alpha-linolenic acid , ALA, which ultimately has anti-inflammatory properties).

The ideal ratio would be 1:1 (LA:ALA), because both serve the same receptors in the body. Both are the only essential fatty acids. However, this ignores the animal omega-3 fatty acids EPA (20:5) and DHA (22:6), which humans produce from ALA. However, older people in particular probably convert too little of it into EPA and DHA - with a normal diet with a ratio of 10:1 between LA and ALA anyway. The Federal Nutrition Commission ( EEK ) therefore recommends reducing this ratio to 5:1 (see below). For poorly-oriented vegetarians and vegans, the ratio is even worse, namely between 17 and 24 to one. This is another reason why we have included the "box link" above. But click on the other links in the text if you want to find out more about the topic.

In this respect, cold-pressed linseed oil (linseed oil, flax oil) would be the best oil of all, but that is why you should not heat it. It can also only be stored for longer without acquiring a rancid taste using the method described in the link. But as a salad oil it would be by far the healthiest oil. Only "no oil" would be even healthier, with seeds and nuts instead, and apple cider vinegar , lemon juice and spices as a dressing.

You can find all the ingredients, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health aspects - effects:

If the oil is natural, it also contains antioxidants such as oleocanthal and oleuropein 3 . According to a scientific study, this oleocanthal is said to have an anti-inflammatory effect, comparable to certain anti-inflammatory, antipyretic painkillers. 4

Olive oil and olives themselves can provide relief from gallbladder problems as they have a choleretic effect. 8

Dangers - intolerances - side effects:

However, a laboratory study in 2008 showed that the consumption of olive oil can lead to an increased risk of arteriosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. Because of the high oleic acid content, it is suspected. 5 But there are also opposing opinions, for example that of the German Heart Foundation: test tube studies do not take normal biological processes such as digestion and metabolism into account. 6

Recommendations of the Federal Nutrition Commission (EEK) from 2006: 9

In 2003, the EEK was commissioned by the Federal Office of Public Health ( FOPH ) to compare the health significance of fats and oils recorded in 1992 with the current state of science. The working group led by Prof. Dr. med. Ulrich Keller delivered the report in 2006. Prof. Jacques Diezi was the president of the EEK . The 50-page report by Dr. sc. nat. Paolo Colombani (SGE, ETH), Prof. Dr. med. Ulrich Keller , Dr. Ulrich Moser (DSM) and Monika Müller concludes (conclusion): The existing recommendations from 1992 must be adapted to the latest scientific findings. The most important findings are:

We should reduce our consumption of saturated fatty acids with 12 to 16 carbon atoms. This lowers LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of atherosclerotic disease and reducing the risk of diabetes. Saturated fatty acids should make up less than 10% of the energy consumed. This can be achieved by reducing the intake of animal fats and baking fats. 9 As the example of coconut oil shows (and to a lesser extent olive oil), even vegans and vegetarians can eat the wrong foods in this regard. See the link in the box above.

We should avoid trans fatty acids (TFA) . The maximum recommended limit is 1 g TFA per 100 g of product, and for oils and margarines, a maximum of 1% of the total fat content. The amount consumed daily should not exceed 1% of the total energy content. Trans fatty acids are produced during partial fat hardening, during frying and during the deodorization of oils. TFA have adverse effects on blood fats, such as an increase in LDL cholesterol and a decrease in HDL cholesterol, which increases the risk of atherosclerotic diseases. 9

Monounsaturated fatty acids should make up the largest proportion of all fatty acid groups, accounting for 10 - 15% of the energy consumed per day, or 20 - 30 g/2000 kcal or 8400 kJ.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential and are divided into two main groups: 1. Linoleic acid and its derivatives as the group of n-6 or omega-6 fatty acids (LA); 2. α-linolenic acid or alpha-linolenic acid and its derivatives, omega-3 or n-3, often just called linolenic acid or ALA for short. The main sources of LA are vegetable oils 9 , but it is also found in nuts and seeds. The main sources of healthy omega-3 (ALA) are, for example , rapeseed oil, nuts and leafy vegetables. 9

Health-conscious people get polyunsaturated fatty acids from linseed , chia seeds , walnuts (tree nuts), macadamia , herbs and leafy vegetables because they have a particularly good ratio between LA and ALA. You can find detailed tables for practically all foods under the ingredients, which can also be accessed from the recipe. The recipes also summarize this. Erb-Müesli , for example, has the ideal composition, with a LA-ALA ratio of 1:1.

Excessive consumption of n-6 fatty acids can promote thrombosis and inflammation. It is therefore sensible to reduce the ratio of n-6:n-3 to 5:1. The current ratio is around 10:1. There is evidence that lowering this ratio can lead to fewer atherosclerotic diseases and reduce inflammatory processes . 9

LA, the n-6 fatty acid, should be around 2.5% of daily energy or 6 g per 2000 kcal or 8400 kJ. ALA, the n-3 fatty acid, should be around 0.7% of daily energy or 1.7 g per 2000 kcal or 8400 kJ. This is what the study says, because we know that it would be utopian to aim for a better ratio (i.e. with more ALA). After twelve years, we are in the same place: far too much LA and too little ALA.

The working group believes that babies and small children should also consume long-chain N-3 fatty acids, i.e. EPA and DHA, in the form of fatty fish, fish oil, or capsules. Original text: It is recommended to eat fish 1-2 times a week (100-240 g per week). The need for these essential fatty acids can also be covered with 500 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day in the form of native fish oil or capsules . In consultation with a doctor, adults who have had a heart attack may find it useful to take native fish oils or fish oil capsules (1,000 mg per day or more) , as they are thought to have a protective effect against further heart complications . 9 In other words, this should also be taken into account as you get older. The body's own conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA decreases with age, and the need actually increases.

Occurrence - Origin:

Olive trees have been cultivated as crops since the 4th millennium BC. They grow in all areas around the Mediterranean, partly also on the Black Sea - i.e. in regions without extreme climatic conditions.

Cultivation - Harvest:

In 2017, olive trees covered 10.8 million hectares in the world, yielding 20.9 million tons of olives. Which country produces the most olive oil? According to FAO trade statistics (2017), Spain is the world's largest producer and exporter and Italy is the world's largest marketer. Spain produced 6.5 million tonnes, more than double that of Greece (2.7 million) and Italy (2.5 million). These are large industries with a corresponding lobby and superior marketing, to which even nutritionists are subjected - so that even they often pass on false information about olive oil. 12

The flowers of the olive tree are hermaphroditic, but you should have other trees nearby to achieve better pollination through different DNA. Pollination is mainly done by wind without insects. There are a few self-pollinating varieties such as Leccino, Frantoio, Cailletier and Agandou, but even then other trees are better if you are aiming for a certain yield. Olive trees thrive best on poor, sandy soils.

Animal protection - species protection - animal welfare:

In 2019, the website of the magazine Stern published an article entitled " Millions of birds killed - the dark secret of olive oil " that revealed how harvesting machines today suck up birds resting under the cover of the leaves at night, which then die. Gernot Kramper wrote the article based on a report in the journal Nature . The blinding lights of the machines confuse the birds and make them wait. It is protected birds such as robins, goldfinches, greenfinches, warblers and wagtails that are most affected. This is another reason why you should avoid olive oil. 11

A completely different issue would be the large monocultures with millions of olive trees and the threats posed by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa since 2013, which have led to deforestation in hundreds of towns. To combat this, it is necessary to mow extensively across the entire area, plough the soil and use pesticides. Regarding the bacterium, the EU has promised several million euros for research and breeding of new olive varieties.

The olive fruit fly ( Bactrocera oleae ) must also be intensively combated. Then there are scale insects, spider mites and aphids as well as fungal diseases (eye spot disease). The stem rot caused by the cushion-shaped fire fungus ( Fomitiporia punctata ), a fungus, and the tubercle disease ( Pseudomonas syringae subsp. savastanoi pv. oleae ) require further measures that are detrimental to nature.

In Spain, deep boreholes are being used to try to get water for the olives, which means that other plants are dying. Slowly but surely, there is a shortage of drinking water and drinking water is only available in rations in the south. Drought zones and forest fires are constantly increasing - partly, but not only, because of global warming.

General information:

Olives are the fruits of the olive tree or the common olive tree ( Olea europaea ) from the genus Olea (olive trees). The plant belongs to the olive family (Oleaceae).

Market influence by corporations:

Unfortunately, the quality of olive oil is deteriorating because certain producers mix Tunisian, Turkish or Greek oil, bottle and process it in Italy and then sell it as Italian olive oil. In this form it is also approved in the EU. The video also provides information about this.

Test results:

In 2016, Stiftung Warentest tested 26 "extra virgin" olive oils. Of these, 13 products were rated as defective; 5 oils were highly contaminated with mineral oil, 20 with pesticides and 5 contained plasticizers. 7 In any case, only cold-pressed oil should be used.

Literature - Sources: