Olive oil is a cooking oil extracted from olives, and is a staple of the Mediterranean Diet. It consists mostly of monounsaturated fats, primarily oleic acid (named after the olive oil itself). It also contains various anti-oxidant and anti-microbial compounds.
There are different forms of processing for olive oil, and olive oil typically known as 'Extra-Virgin' has the highest levels of beneficial ingredients in it due to minimal processing.
Some compounds in olive oil are heat and light sensitive and can be degraded when introduced to these stimuli. Olive oil should be stored in a cool, dark area to preserve these nutritional compounds.
Olive oil exhibits various smoke points (which should be avoided) ranging from 320 degrees F as Extra Virgin Olive, 420 degrees for Virgin, and 460-468 for Light and Extra light according. The lesser processed oils exhibit lower smoke points.