Extra virgin olive oil

The olive tree and its derivatives are part of the history of Mediterranean peoples. The Mediterranean diet offers longevity, offering many benefits, mainly in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease.

The olive oil is the main lipid in the Mediterranean diet, with 9 g per kilocalories. (1 tablespoon = 10 ml, giving 90 kcal). The recommended daily intake of monounsaturated fatty acids should be 10% of total daily energy intake. This dose should be part of the total daily fat intake, which might not exceed 30%.

More specifically: It consists of 2 parts, saponifiable (98.5 – 99%) composed of triglycerides (mainly oleic) and unsaponifiable (1 – 1.5%) consisting of products (hydrocarbons, alcohols, sterols, phenolic compounds, waxy ingredients, pigments, vitamins and aromatic volatile compounds). The unsaponifiable components although they have a low rate they play a particularly important role. Some of these components, such as sterols and phenols , are bioactive. From hydrocarbons the main ingredient is the squalene, which is a precursor of biosynthesis of sterols from which we find particularly beta-sitosterol, D5-avenasteroli, campesterol, sigmasteroli, etc.

The extra virgin olive oil contains the highest amount of antioxidants. Fatty acids (l.o) triglycerides vary depending on the variety and conditions of harvest olives. The monounsaturated oleic acid is predominant at a rate 55 to 83%.

Under the legislation of the European Union and the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC), defined quality criteria, first the sensory examination (color, smell, taste), which is through the sensory (taste-olfactory sense) by a team of trained tasters (panel), on the other hand, the measurement of acidity and oxidation. Based on the acidity of the olive oil, is divided into olive oil for food (up 2.0% acidity) and olive oil for industry (acidity greater than 2.0%).
Effect of olive oil on health.

Most scientific studies on the effect of oil on health have shown a very positive effect on blood lipids and cardiovascular system in general.

Helps prevent blood clots and platelet aggregation, resulting in lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases.. Reduces total blood cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides and athiromatiki action, , ie the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Olive oil also increases the “good” cholesterol (HDL), which has a protective effect.

The oil also has influence on primary and secondary prevention (eg prevention of second heart attack).

Also, because the content of polyphenols may lead to lower high blood pressure (hypertension). (υπέρταση).

Antioxidants have anti-cancer activity by preventing the formation of free radicals and therefore oxidative stress. This action is more important in cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, endometrial and any type of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract. The type of fat consumed is more important than quantity, in the incidence of cancer.

The antioxidants found in olive oil is:

• Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
• carotenoids (eg beta-carotene) found in greater proportion in green olives
• phenols dependent on climatic conditions, production, storage and ripeness of the olives and divided into simple (eg hydroxytyrosol), which prevent the accumulation of platelets and thus have anti-inflammatory action , compound phenols (p . alefropeini example) that help in the formation of nitric acid which is a potent vasodilator having as a result an antibacterial action, ferulic and caffeic acid

Squalene, the main component of olive oil has been shown to reduce the incidence of melanoma in the skin. Olive oil has increased ability to remove the bile from the gall bladder, thus preventing gallstones.. Also has a very positive effect on the digestion of food and absorption of the nutrients from these for example calcium, iron and magnesium. During aging , and as in situations such as memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease the agency’s requirements in monounsaturated fatty acids are increased because these help maintain the structure of the cell wall of the brain. At the same time oil is easily absorbed by the body acting effectively against constipation.. The ease of absorption of olive oil from the body is due to the triglyceride triolein, pigments and other trace elements that are in it.

As the main source of monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil helps:

• In the reduction of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels
• In the maintenance of good blood cholesterol (HDL)
• In the prevention of blocking the arteries and thus prevent cardiovascular disease
• In the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers, as it eases digestion
• In the diet of diabetics and consequently in the balance of the price of glucose
• In the prevention of cancer

Source: : Information Office of Olive Oil(Vas Sofias 49, 10676 Athens Tel 7293585 E-mail: oliveoil@geo-yr.gr)

‘There is nothing better than to fry in olive oil’
The high stability of olive oil (that does not corrode easily) due to the absence of many double bond (monounsaturated) in the molecule but also to its high antioxidant content. So when we cook with olive oil there is no production of harmful trans fatty acids, as in the case of seed oils. So the oil can be used repeatedly for frying. How you will benefit most: If frying is carried out under controlled conditions, such as frying temperature to 170 ° C, use only olive oil, preferably virgin olive oil ,warmed the oil without burn it , drained well the vegetables before frying or flour . Short time of frying and replace of oil after each frying, in this way increasing the content of antioxidants and squalene in fried vegetables.
Recent studies, indeed, attach to the olive oil even anti-inflammatory action similar to those drugs issued for arthritis, etc. … It is no coincidence that the meals who cooked with the juice of the olive -oily-classified by nutritionists as a ‘health cocktail’.

“Beyond the monounsaturated fatty acids that help prevent cardiovascular disease, the extra virgin olive oil has more than 200 micro ingredients , whose beneficial role now clarifies, ” underlined the emeritus professor of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, University of Athens, Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou.

“His content in phenols may provide a beneficial effect on plasma lipids and in anti-oxidative process . Studying these micro ingredients, which are mainly in the extra-virgin olive oil, we fall from one surprise to another, when we see how beneficial action has in various ways in human health.”

It also points out Dr. George Fragiadakis, biochemist and head of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, TEI of Crete, “a recent study showed that olaiakanthali, a component of extra virgin olive oil has anti-inflammatory” remarkably “similar to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ibuprofen” a substance used in medicines for arthritis, etc.

Although the two molecules are structurally dissimilar and the olaiakanthali is at a very low concentration in olive oil.

However, “it is no coincidence that some of the benefits attributed to the Mediterranean diet overlap with those attributed to NSAIDs?” He wonders. Beyond this case, however, there are proven benefits of using olive oil.

“The consumption of about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease,if the oil replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories per day,”explains Mr. Fragiadakis.

On his part, Assistant Professor of Food Chemistry at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, George Blekas, explains that “virgin olive oil is a natural oil that comes to consumption without suffering from the refining who exist seed oils and some olive oils who do not meet the specification of the virgin oils.

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