7. Myth: Cooking olive oil destroys its health benefits.
Truth: Olive oil’s fabulous reputation has been ever-so-slightly marred by the myth that it can’t take the heat–that even if you cook with premium versions, you cook away the healthful properties. Not true! Even delicate extra-virgin oils can take the heat without sacrificing nutrition.
Heart-happy mono-unsaturated fats aren’t unfavorably impacted by heat. And new research is showing that the phytonutrient compounds responsible for giving olive oils their complex flavor profiles as well as other healthful properties are surprisingly stable, as long as the oil isn’t heated past its smoking point, which for extra-virgin olive oil is pretty high, about 405°F.
But do make sure to store olive oil (and all oils) properly. Fats and phytonutrients can stay stable for up to two years if stored in unopened opaque bottles at room temperature and away from light. Heat, light, and air dramatically effect stability.