Why is extra virgin olive oil the best ally of our health?
Properties, Medical evidence and good uses.
1- Dietary fats are highly controversial, with debates about animal fats, seed oils, and everything in between in full force. Olive oil that is truly extra virgin has a distinct taste and is high in phenolic antioxidants, which is the main reason why it’s so beneficial. Antioxidants are biologically active, and some of them can help fight serious diseases.
The oil’s main antioxidants include the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal, as well as oleuropein, a substance that protects LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation. Also, Evo Oil contains modest amounts of vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids (ex. Oleic acid). It’s the most important fatty acid in Olive Oil and has been found to reduce inflammatory markers.
Also, one study showed that substances in olive oil can reduce the expression of genes and proteins that mediate inflammation, can help prevent unwanted blood clotting, a key feature of heart attacks and strokes and reduce blood pressure significantly. Given the biological effects of olive oil, it’s not surprising that people who consume the greatest amounts of it are significantly less likely to die from heart attacks and strokes.
One potential contributor to cancer is oxidative damage due to harmful molecules called free radicals. However, extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants that reduce oxidative damage. The oleic acid in Olive Oil is also highly resistant to oxidation and has been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
A study in mice observed that a substance in olive oil can help clear buildup of protein tangles called “beta-amyloid plaques” in certain neurons in the brain, one feature of Alzheimer’s. Additionally, a controlled study in humans showed that a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil improved brain function and reduced the risk of cognitive impairment.
2- Consuming extra virgin olive oil is the best choice when it comes to seasonings, for flavour, fragrance but also for the many healthy virtues. Known and used since ancient times, olive oil is one of the most important components of the Mediterranean diet.
According to the analyses of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the healthy substances for the human body are manifold. For example monounsaturated fatty acids are the most active fatty substances for the prevention of cardiovascular disorders and oleic acid is able to regulate cholesterol levels (reduces the level of LDL cholesterol, "bad", compared to the level of HDL cholesterol, "good").
Oleic acid prevents arterial lesions and reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, thrombosis and coronary artery disease in general. Furthermore, monounsaturated fats make extra virgin olive oil particularly resistant to alterations. This means that, if well preserved, it does not turn rancid but above all it bears cooking well, reaching even high temperatures (for example in fries) without giving rise to the formation of harmful substances, which instead happens when using oils rich in polyunsaturated fats (like most of the seed oils). Extra virgin olive oil is the only seasoning that is included in the weaning of infants because it contains essential polyunsaturated fats w6 and w3 in the correct relationship between them, similarly to what happens in breast milk.
To distinguish extra virgin oils from other oils is also the content of polyphenols, very particular antioxidants. They protect the integrity of cell membranes, guaranteeing a defense against the formation and development of many types of tumors, and it seems they are also able to counteract memory loss and alteration of other cognitive functions linked to aging. And they protect the same vitamin E from oxidation. Extra virgin olive oil is a natural source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects cell membranes from aging processes. For this property it is considered the vitamin of beauty. The more a food is rich in oxidizable fats, the more it needs quantities of vitamin E in order to protect them from the formation of free radicals. Therefore, rather than assessing how much vitamin E is present in a fat, it is important to evaluate how much there is in relation to oxidizable fats. Finally, thanks to squalene, skin tumors would also be countered.