Choosing unrefined foods is healthy 99.9999% of the time, the exception being cooking oils. It’s ironic that extra virgin olive oil, which enjoys an almost saint-like aura for its health benefits has a hellish way of smoking at a relatively high temperature. This is called its smoking point, and a high smoking point is unhealthy, no matter how you look at it.
The smoking point, characterized by the release of vapors, signifies that impurities in the oil are breaking down. At this point, not only are flavor and nutritional value compromised, cancer-causing compounds can be forming. Since refining oils takes out impurities, the more refined the oil, the lower the smoking point.
Smoking oil is also one of the major fire hazards compromising kitchen safety. At high temperatures, not only can oil spatter burn anyone within reach, but should any splatters alight on the open flame or electric element, an oil fire, one of the most difficult to extinguish, can engulf the pan and spread.
Insure a safe and secure home, know the smoking points of any oil you use, and make sure you have adequate homeowners insurance. In Southern California, Young Insurance is more than happy to assess your current coverage.