It is undoubtedly one of the nutritional treasures of our country, so we are lucky enough to have it in abundance.
It is rich in Vitamin E as well as in natural antioxidants, valuable polyphenols and flavonoids, which protect the body from premature aging and many diseases.
It also has a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids, also called "good fats", as they have been linked to maintaining cardiovascular health.
In addition, olive oil is better absorbed by the body than other oils and favors the functioning of various organs, such as bile. For all these reasons, we should only select olive oil for any use, whether raw or in cooking, even frying, and avoid seed oils.
It may be more economical, but it has been shown to seriously harm our health.
Olive oil contains high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) as well as a variety of bioactive ingredients. Of these, phenolic compounds are the most extensively studied.
Concerning the benefits of MUFAs to human health, the US Food and Drinks Agency issued quality health claims for the first time in 2004 regarding the protection offered by olive oil monounsaturated fatty acids against the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Overall, the benefits of olive oil fats were summarized at the first International Conference on Olive Oil and Health in 2005.
Olive oil, however, is more than a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids. Its phenolic components have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and chemo-protective properties.
Olive oil, oleocanthal, has been found to have a similar effect to the anti-inflammatory drug ibunoprofene. None of the studies examining the role of the phenolic components of olive oil has shown cytotoxicity.
The European study EUROLIVE (The effect of olive oil consumption on oxidative damage in European populations) presented, in 2006, documented evidence for the protective role of phenolic components of olive oil . Europe and demonstrated protection against oxidative stress after daily consumption of 25 ml of phenolic rich olive oil (virgin olive oil).
Specifically, there was an increase in HDL (good cholesterol) levels, and decreased lipid oxidative stress after months of consumption of virgin olive oil. In addition, the same study showed a decrease in DNA oxidation rates of 13% - comparable to the amounts observed after smoking.