A quick reminder: even though it contains the word ‘anti’, antioxidants are actually healthy! Furthermore, it turns out that vegetables and potatoes deep fried in olive oil contain more antioxidants than when they are fried or cooked.
Deep frying in olive oil
According to a recent study published in Food Chemistry, food that has been deep fried in olive oil contains more antioxidants. Nutrition experts haven’t kept it a secret: adding ‘fat’ to vegetables is healthy. It is, for instance, advised to fry or stir fry with olive oil because olive oil improves the absorption of vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K.
This is why it isn’t illogical that deep frying vegetables and potatoes is even healthier. The study does mention that it concerns extra virgin olive oil. Phenols, which are part of antioxidants, are being absorbed by the vegetables when deep fried in extra virgin olive oil. This means that, while deep frying, more healthy substances are added to your already healthy vegetables.
Antioxidants vs. calories
However, we must add a 'footnote' to this study. You can deep fry your eggplant or zucchini in olive oil if you want, just don’t forget about the calories. We all know that an abundance of calories can lead to overweight, overconsumption, and other health issues.
The study does show that it is essential to use extra virgin olive oil. The phenols are only released when extra virgin olive oil is used. It is no surprise that restaurants often use regular olive oil to fry their food. This as regular olive oil is cheaper (for the restaurant and eventually the consumer also). Unfortunately, this does mean no antioxidants are released, so the eventual cost seems to be greater for both.
Temperature of the oil
Besides the type of oil, it is also important to keep an eye on the temperature of the olive oil. It is well-known that harmful substances are released when the temperature of the oil rises above a certain point. This is clearly seen when the olive oil starts smoking. The study published in Food Chemistry heated the oil to 177 degrees Celsius, well below the temperature of when it starts smoking (204 degrees Celsius).
Do not assume, therefore, that deep frying in (extra virgin) olive oil is always healthy, especially not in bars and restaurants. Of course, at home you control everything yourself so you can definitely deep fry in a healthier way. So, quickly get yourself a bottle of Gkazas olive oil and start cooking. Bring on those antioxidants!