Olive oil is the only vegetable fat obtained by pressing a fruit. Differently, vegetable oils are extracted from seeds using chemical solvents. Extra virgin oliveoil is made up of 98% triglycerides and 2% of other minor compounds such as polyphenols, vitamins, pigments, volatile compounds and hydrocarbons. Compared with seed oils rich in polyunsaturated fats, extra virgin oliveoil has a high content of oleic acid. Extra virgin oliveoil is not heavier than seed oil: all oils contain the same amount of fat and provide 9 calories per gram. A balanced diet with 25-30 grams of extra virgin oliveoil per day provides health benefits without the risk of gaining weight.
BENEFITS OF OLIVE OIL DERIVING FROM ITS COMPOSITION
Oleic Acid: is a mono-unsaturated fatty acid linked with glycerol. It helps prevent atherosclerosis, lowers bad cholesterol, (LDL) and prevents the aging of neurons
Omega 3 and 6: are essential fats that can only be absorbed by the body through food. Well-known health benefits include cardiovascular health, alleviating hypertension and aiding rheumatoid arthritis. Omega 3 and 6 are found in the correct proportions only in extra virgin oliveoil and breast milk.
Phenolic compound: control the formation of free radicals. They help prevent inflammation, coronary heart disease, some cancers, cellular aging and complications due to severe diabetes. The oleocantale isolated from extra-virgin olive oil shows anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen; it is used in research developing therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. These compounds are responsible for the bitter and spicy notes of oil.
Vitamin-E Carotenoids: these are present only in small amounts but are powerful antioxidants.
BENEFITS OF OLIVE OIL DURING COOKING
During cooking, olive oil loses some of its typical aromatic fragrances but not its antioxidant properties. In fact, it protects the other components of the food being cooked from the degradation brought about by oxygen and free radicals, preserving its nutritional properties.
Extra virgin oliveoil also helps other chemical reactions that can give added value to our food. For example, it dissolves and extracts aromas present in the other ingredients. A striking example of these processes is the preparation of tomato sauce. Furthermore, extra virgin oliveoil is suitable for frying because it has a high amount of oleic acid and antioxidants that make it more stable than other oils at high temperatures, contrasting the formation of potentially toxic substances for our body.
With dairy products extra virgin oliveoil loses its bitterness because phenolic compounds bind with proteins and the volatile substances that cause bitterness become inert.
With roasts: meat or fish marinated for a few minutes in extra virgin oliveoil before cooking on the grill or nonstick plate have, after cooking, lower levels of harmful substances for health than the same foods not marinated.
With tunafish: during the processing of canned tuna, extra virgin oliveoil protects from the oxidation of the important omega-3 fatty acids.
Cakes made with extra virgin oliveil have high sensory quality and are highly digestible, because they stimulate the gallbladder, and not inhibit gastric secretion as other fats. Recall that the bitter and pungent are attenuated by the protein of milk, remains only the natural fruity of the olive oil.
For further details, invites you to read the article by Raffaele Sacchi “ Sia crudo che cotto purchè extravergine” published in Olive Oil, and No. 4 / 2009
BENEFITS OF OLIVE OIL ARE CLOSELY LINKED WITH THE QUALITY OF OLIVE OIL
The quality of extra virgin oliveoil depends on all the stages of its production: agronomic and cultural practices, harvesting methods, extraction and extraction timing as well as storage. When done with care, each step ensures that the resulting olive oil is of high quality, rich and flavorful as well as nutritious. High quality oils have low acidity and are rich in polyphenols and other antioxidants that help maintain the oil’s natural properties and contribute to its health benefits.
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