→ Health Benefits and chemical features
→ Health benefits
Extra virgin olive oil comes from the very first olive pressing. It's a raw product with a delicate scent and flavor, much better than the oils obtained from other vegetables. These features make it an appreciated product for consumers willing to find quality and wholesomeness in their foods.
The positive effects deriving from the assumption of this product are never praised enough: the extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants, phytosterols and vitamins.
→ Chemical features
During harvest, when the color of the olives changes from a greenish-yellow into black ("veraison"), the fruit contains a high concentration of polyphenols (chemical elements which have an antioxidant action which prevents damage on our body caused by free radicals).
The extra virgin olive oil also has a reduced amount of free fat acids (FFA) (<0.8%). It has a minimal amount of saturated fats and contains linolic acid (omega 6) and linolenic (omega 3). Such characteristics make it an excellent healthy product.
Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). It has been demonstrated that the Mediterranean Diet, of which olive oil is one of its main components, can reduce the risk of heart related diseases and cerebral vascular conditions (strokes).
The beneficial essence and a balanced diet!
→ Beneficial essence
The oleocanthan is a substance that gives olive oil a slight pinch in its flavor. Together with oleuropein, polyphenols, from which hydroxytyrosol derives, boast a powerful anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects like ibuprofen, which is a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug used against several types of pain. Together with other substances, such as Vitamin E and carotenoids, these elements have proved to fight cancer, preserve nervous system health and soothe inflammation. The phytosterols (betaphytosterols) reduces cholesterol.
Vitamin K is also present in a discreet concentration, contributing to bone mass enhancement. It also seems to limit the brain damage caused by patients with Alzheimer's disease.
→ Balanced diet!
Benefits to our health come from a balanced diet, which involves a limited amount of calories. Extra virgin olive oil is very rich, therefore an excessive consumption may nullify its qualities.
Meat consumption should be reduced, especially red meat; reduce the saturated fats by eating less cheese and sweets and increase the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables instead.
Regular physical activity is also recommended (30 minutes a day, or a 1hr walk three times a week).