Olive oil is made from the flesh of olives rather than the seeds. This means it requires less pressure and lower temperatures during the pressing process, which preserves the nutritional qualities of the oil. Olive oil contains 90 percent unsaturated fats, most of which are the cholesterol-lowering monounsaturates. Olive oil, which by its very nature doesn’t need to be processed, is the only oil that can be obtained directly from the flesh of the vegetable and not the seed. This makes olive oil a good choice for your heart. Because it is high in oleic acid and low in linoleic fatty acid, it is slow to spoil. It has a pleasant flavor and can be used both in salad dressings and in cooking. Olive oil is a favorite in Mediterranean cuisine, since olive groves and olive presses are plentiful in that part of the world. Its only drawback is that it contains little omega 3 or omega 6 essential fatty acids. “Virgin” olive oil means that the oil is from the first pressing and has not been refined or chemically processed in any way, such as being bleached or hydrogenated. “Extra virgin” is the highest quality olive oil (for which you pay a slightly higher price). It has a richer, less acidic taste. High temperature cooking destroys the flavor of olive oil, but it is excellent for dressings and the “wet-sauté” method. Avoid olive oil that does not say “virgin” or “extra virgin” on the label, but instead boasts of being “refined” or “pure.” “Refined” means that the oil has been chemically processed. “Pure” means nothing more than the oil came from an olive. Even though olive oil is slow to spoil, store it in a cool, dark place in the cupboard. Olive oil is medium in omega 6, but low in omega 3 fatty acids. A combination of flax oil and olive oil in the diet strikes a healthy balance.