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How to tell if you have the best, most healthful olive oil

Narrator:       This is Science Today. A Spanish study has found that a Mediterranean diet that's rich in olive oil and nuts significantly lowered the risk of cardiovascular events in patients at high risk for heart disease. If you're planning to add more olive oil to your diet, make sure the oil you pick is the best quality you can find. Olive oil expert Paul Vossen of the University of California says the key to knowing if you have the best, most healthful oil is taste.

Vossen:          You get odd flavors in olive oil when it's not fresh. And the freshness goes along generally with greenness, herbaceousness, and then some bitterness and some pungency. So, if olive oil doesn't have any bitterness or pungency, that's a problem. It's either refined or it's not olive oil or it's old or it's, you know, whatever.

Narrator:       The freshness and bitterness of a good olive oil also signifies the presence of the same compounds that are good for our heart.

Vossen:          There's various antioxidants in there. So, we're consuming olive oil that is bitter and pungent and green that adds a whole layer of a health benefit within that oil.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.