Extra virgin olive oil (EVO) is among the best known vegetable fats and is the healthiest, presenting various healthy properties that other fats do not have.
Its vitamin content, the prevalence of monounsaturated fatty acids and natural antioxidants make it an important food for well-being and health, it is no coincidence that it is the main food of the Mediterranean diet.
By Extra Virgin Olive Oil we mean an oil obtained from the first pressing of the olives. The extra virgin olive oil extraction processes are rigorously mechanical and the use of chemical processes is totally excluded.
The acidity of EVO oil represents, together with some organoleptic and gustatory properties, the fundamental parameter in the qualitative evaluation of the product.
The acidity (Ph) of EVO oil is expressed in free fatty acids of oleic acid (C 18:1), from a legislative point of view, an extra virgin olive oil must not exceed 0.8%.
Here are the main health benefits of extra virgin olive oil:
- It has an important antioxidant action as it contains substances such as vitamin E, polyphenols, chlorophylls and carotenoids, which help to counteract the activity of free radicals, reducing cell ageing. Polyphenols have a bitter and spicy taste, so if these two flavor notes are found in an oil, the polyphenols are present.
- It helps in the prevention of hypertension problems and some coronary diseases such as atherosclerosis, thanks to the action of unsaturated acids, such as oleic acid.
- It has the ability to reduce blood glucose levels , this property is very important for those suffering from diabetes!
- It has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
- Helps in the prevention of breast and colon cancers . Furthermore, squalene, which is abundant in EVO oil, would be effective in fighting skin tumors; in Italy and Greece, where the consumption of extra virgin olive oil is very high, life expectancy is in fact higher than in other countries such as those of northern Europe, where animal oils are mainly consumed.
- It has healing effects on the pancreas , it has been shown to be useful in case of pancreatitis.
In short, extra virgin olive oil, being produced mechanically, by crushing the olives, without the use of chemical agents and thanks to the natural nutrient content of the olives, is recognized by many as the absolute healthiest vegetable oil and healthy for all ages.
The longevity of the Italians, great consumers of oil, demonstrate its healthy properties!