Olive Oil Is Vegan? Is It Safe For Vegans?

Some vegans avoid olive oil, whether it’s low-quality or extra-virgin pressed.

Olive oil is safe for vegans.

Olive oil has been an integral part of Mediterranean cultures such as Greece and Italy for millennia.

It’s now found all over the world.

This oil is made from small green olive trees and makes a great addition to any salad dressing or marinade.

It has been shown to have heart-healthy benefits and is also one of the most versatile low-temperature cooking oil.

Is Extra-Virgin Oil Olive Oil Vegan?

Is Extra-Virgin Oil Olive Oil Vegan

Vegans often choose olive oil or vegan vegetable oils to replace butter and animal-based oils.

However, some vegans are willing to eat vegan oils.

Check out our Vegan Guide below to find out more about olive oil production and reasons why vegans might need to pause before deciding whether to eat it.

What Is Olive Oil?

What Is Olive Oil

Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from the grinding of olives to a paste, which is then centrifugated to extract the oil.

Ripe olives are the best source of oil.

Overripe olives can produce bitter oil and dirty oil that contains suspended particles.

Virgin Olive Oil can only be extracted by mechanical methods and without chemicals.

Refined Olive Oil can only be obtained by a process that preserves its glyceridic composition.

This oil is often produced using charcoal filters and has a lower flavor than virgin olive oils.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is an extra virgin olive oil with lower acidity and superior flavor.

How Is Olive Oil Made

How Is Olive Oil Made

Over the past few thousand years, the process of extracting the best vegan fats has been perfected.

Here’s how olive oil is made.

Picking. Picking.

The farmers then take the ground olives and make a batch.

The farmers then take the olives off the trees to make better oil.

They also don’t waste any olives.

When olives are golden, they should be picked at their peak ripeness.

A greener-hued olive oil is produced by less ripe ones.

Pressing.

After picking and sorting the olives by farmers, producers place them on stainless steel rollers to grind them to a paste.

The malaxation process involves slowly stirring water into the paste to allow oil molecules to cluster together and concentrate.

Extra pressing. 

The concentrated oil paste is transferred to mats, and then it is either pressed once more or centrifuged.

This machine rotates quickly and separates the oil and olive paste.

Once the oil and water are separated, the oil can be bottled and sold.

Are Our Olive Oils Vegan?

The simple answer is YES!

Why Do Vegans Avoid Olive Oil?

Why Do Vegans Avoid Olive Oil

Olive oil is vegan in the strictest sense. 

It is completely plant-based and contains no animal products.

Olive oil is a popular choice for vegan cooking, as it doesn’t contain any animal products.

Refinement does not involve animal ingredients or by-products.

Traditional olive oil is also free from animal testing.

Olive oil has a distinct and pleasant taste and a good reputation for its health.

However, not everyone is happy to eat olive oil as part of a vegan lifestyle.

One of the main concerns for ethical vegans is that olive oil production has an environmental impact.

Although small-scale artisanal operations don’t have such an adverse effect, large-scale olive-oil production can pose serious environmental problems.

The most important aspect of this environmental impact is how much water is required to make olive oil. 

It takes around 3900 liters to make one-liter extra-virgin oil.

Even more concerning is the toxic waste created by the oil-pressing process. 

Olive oil production creates an alarming amount of toxic waste.

While the risk and quantities depend on many factors, there is no way to produce olive oil without creating large waste.

Phenols are the main toxic compounds found in olive oil waste.

These chemicals can cause serious reactions when inhaled, ingested, or come in contact with skin.

These chemicals can cause harm to humans, animals, or plant life.

This phenol-rich waste can be produced by large olive oil production companies.

These contaminants can be found in nearby soil and watercourses if the waste is not properly disposed of.

The olive-oil industry also contributes to soil erosion.

Although well-managed plantations may help stabilize the soil, large-scale industrial-scale olive plantations and methods to increase crop yields can significantly contribute to soil loss.

Particularly, irrigation water can wash away soil below and in olive-growing regions, leading to watercourses.

The toxic compounds in the run-off from olive plantations can cause severe environmental damage.

Run-off can contain pesticides or other chemicals used in olive farming.

These are just a few of the environmental effects of large-scale olive oils farming.

Vegans might choose to avoid olive oil altogether or seek olive oil made with more sustainable methods.

What’s Extra-Virgin Oil?

What's Extra-Virgin Oil

Extra virgin olive oil refers to the highest quality olive oil.

This means the oil has not been refined or heated with chemicals.

Unrefined olive oils have more vitamins and minerals and a true olive flavor.

Extra virgin olive oil also contains 1% of oleic acid.

Extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke level, which burns at a lower temperature.

How Do I Tell My Olive Oil Is Extra Virgin?

Producers consider the certification of extra-virgin olive oils a badge of honor.

California labs test any potential contenders and seal brands if they pass inspection.

Simply labeled “virgin,” the oil is not up to extra-virgin standards.

They are still of decent quality but may have minor defects in flavor or aroma.

Are Our Olive Oils Healthy?

Are Our Olive Oils Healthy

Experts recommend olive oil for cooking.

It provides nutrients and other benefits of unsaturated vegetable oil.

It is pure fat, which doesn’t have any carbohydrates or protein, so it’s healthy for everyone.

These are some of the health benefits that olive oil has when included in your diet.

  • Protective against type-2 diabetes

According to a randomized clinical study, it may help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  • Prevent strokes

In most countries, stroke is common.

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, or MUFA, which helps to reduce stroke risk and other heart diseases.

  • It aids in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

A study has shown that olive oil contains a substance that helps remove beta-amyloid plaques from human brain cells, leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Reduces rheumatoid arthritis

RA is an autoimmune condition that causes severe joint pain and swelling.

Olive oil can be used to treat RA.

  • Lowers the risk of chronic diseases

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help lower the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

  • It does not cause obesity and weight gain.

Olive oil is fat, but it doesn’t cause weight loss.

Because it is rich in antioxidants, olive oil can help you lose weight.

  • This lowers the chance of stomach ulcers stomach cancer.

Olive oil is rich with antibacterial properties that fight against the bacterium responsible for stomach cancer and ulcer.

  • Lowers bad LDL cholesterol lowers blood pressure.

Studies have shown that olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties and helps lower bad cholesterol.

Daily intake of olive oil helps prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.

This prevents strokes and heart disease.

It improves the linings of blood vessels, which helps to lower blood pressure and prevents blood clots.

Olive Oil Nutrition Information

Let’s look at the nutritional information of the top five most popular olive oil brands.

Kirkland Signature Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Is Olive Oil Healthy

Kirkland Signature Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the first cold-pressed organic olive oil imported from Italy using Italian olives, is Kirkland Signature Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

These ingredients are used in the preparation of this product:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Nutritional Facts (per 1 Tbsp).
  • Calories: 125
  • Total fat: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total sugar: 0g
  • Total carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pompeian is a locality that has existed since 1906.

Extra virgin olive oil from Pompeian is cold-pressed before being imported.

These ingredients are used in the preparation of this product:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Nutritional Facts (per 1 Tbsp).

  • Calories: 120
  • Total fat: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total sugar: 0g
  • Total carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Colavita Premium Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Colavita extra-virgin olive oil is 100% Italian and comes only from olives grown in Italy.

These ingredients are used in the preparation of this product:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Nutritional Facts (per 1 Tbsp).

  • Calories: 120
  • Total fat: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total sugar: 0g
  • Total carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Olea Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olea is 100% Greek olive oil.

The recipe uses no hydrogenated fats and high fructose corn syrups.

These ingredients are used in the preparation of this product:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Nutritional Facts (per 1 Tbsp).

  • Calories: 126
  • Total fat: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total sugar: 0g
  • Total carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Happy Belly Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This Mediterranean mix is imported from Spain.

These ingredients are used in the preparation of this product:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Nutritional Facts (per 1 Tbsp).

  • Calories: 120
  • Total fat: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total sugar: 0g
  • Total carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Whole Foods Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil 365

This olive oil comes from the Mediterranean region and is cold-pressed.

This brand is exclusive to Whole Foods Market and can be found on Amazon.

These ingredients are used in the preparation of this product:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Nutritional Facts (per 1 Tbsp).

  • Calories: 120
  • Total fat: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total sugar: 0g
  • Total carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Healthier Alternatives To Olive Oil

Healthier Alternatives To Olive Oil

Many oil companies have begun to create oils from different ingredients due to the increasing popularity of olive oil.

Let’s look at some healthy alternatives to olive oils!

Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil

This oil is made from avocados and can substitute for olive oils in the kitchen.

It can be used to saute, bake, stir-fry, and even saute.

This oil can be used vegan.

These ingredients are used in the preparation of this product:

100% Avocado Oil

Nutritional Facts (per 1 Tbsp).

  • Calories: 130
  • Total fat: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total sugar: 0g
  • Total carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil

Nutiva’s cold-press extraction method yields an oil that is pure and light-tasting.

It does not use any harmful chemicals, heat, or hexane.

This oil can be used as a vegan substitute.

These ingredients are used in the preparation of this product:

100% Organic, Unrefined, Cold-Pressed, Virgin Coconut Oil

Nutritional Facts (per 1 Tbsp).

  • Calories: 130
  • Total fat: 15g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total sugar: 0g
  • Total carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Barlean’s Flaxseed Oil

Organic flax oil from Barlean is cold-pressed without heat or solvents.

This oil is a family-owned and operated business.

This oil can be used as a vegan alternative.

These ingredients are used in the preparation of this product:

100% Organic Flaxseed oil

Nutritional Facts (per 1 Tbsp).

  • Calories: 120
  • Total fat: 14g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Total sugar: 0g
  • Total carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Olive Oil Alternatives To Save

Olive Oil Alternatives To Save Sesame Oil

Canola Oil (Rapeseed)

Canola oil (for Canada’s Low Acid) is a horrible oil.

Because it is a genetically engineered oil, it has a high environmental impact.

This is because the crops can be treated with herbicides to increase yields.

Like many other oils, it can also be dangerous to use in cooking.

The high levels of polyunsaturated fats in seed oils can cause them to oxidize when heated.

Palm Oil

Deforestation is caused by palm oil.

It is often harvested in unethical ways.

It is a contributing factor to the death of Orang Utans.

It’s also not great for cooking.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is another oil that has a significant environmental impact.

Although it is still less harmful than olive oil in water consumption and emissions, its environmental impact is very high.

Unrefined sunflower oils are not good for cooking, with a low smoke point at 225°F (110°C). However, refined sunflower oils have a high smoke level of 450°F (230°C).

Sunflower oil, a seed oil, is also susceptible to heat damage.

Sesame Oil

The production of sesame oil requires a lot more water than olive oil.

It also leaves a similar carbon footprint.

Sesame oil has a medium smoke point, but because it is made from seeds and high in polyunsaturated oils, it oxidizes quickly when heated.

Final Verdict – Is Olive Oil Vegan

How to Vegan Olive Oil

All olive oil is vegan-friendly and plant-based.

You can research sources to find olive oil suppliers that are not exploitative.

Olive oil is considered one of the most healthy oils on the market.

However, it does have a low smoke point.

You might consider cooking with oil or a substitute if you are cooking at high temperatures.

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