Published on February 23rd, 2013 |
by George Conte
Nutritional value and health benefits of olive oil
Olive oil is one of the basic ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet. It is one of the best sources of healthy fat that is proven to give longevity, wellness and health without any side effects.
The olives and olive oil have multiple benefits for our body thanks to good fats they include like monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid. Olive oil also contains vitamins E, K, D, and many minerals and antioxidants.
Olive oil benefits
- It has anti-inflammatory and painkiller action thanks to the substance oleocanthal that is contained, which also appears to have beneficial properties against the illness of Alzheimer. Oleocanthal is responsible for the stinging sensation on our tongue when tasting olive oil. It is found in various concentrations in extra virgin olive oils depending on the ripeness of the olives and the variety. Antioxidants like vitamin E, polyphenols and carotenoids (precursors of vitamin A), contained in olive oil make it a perfect anticancer and anti-aging food that protects our brain and memory.
- Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat and linoleic acid that help to prevent heart disease and atherosclerosis and reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) while increase HDL (the good cholesterol). Also, one of the many benefits of monounsaturated fat is to help control blood sugar levels and thus prevent diabetes. At the same time linoleic acid is very beneficial when women breastfeed their children because it protects through breast milk the skin of babies from various diseases.
- Regarding the external use of olive oil, it is very good on hard heels, nails and skin. This is the reason why we see that many new skin care products contain it as an essential ingredient.
- Black olives and olive oil protect against osteoporosis because they favor the bone mass increase due to vitamins E, K and D, calcium and phosphorus.
- The olive oil vitamins generally make our skin, hair and eyes look healthy and shiny.
- It contains magnesium, selenium and zinc that make it a perfect food before bedtime.
Categories of olive oil
- “Extra virgin olive oil”, is created by squeezed olives and should not have more than 1% acidity, expressed as oleic acid. The best quality olive oil is created when “cold” (low temperature) pressing is applied.
- “Virgin olive oil” has higher acidity than extra virgin, which can reach up to 2%.
- “Olive oil” is the common refined olive oil which contains a small percentage of natural olive juice (virgin olive oil), typically 20% to 30%. The acidity on the chemical treatment is usually low and should not exceed 1.5% acidity in oleic acid. Packaged with the label “Olive”, which is likely to mislead consumers. Its quality cannot be compared with the former two types mentioned.
It is very important as I mentioned above, that the olive oil you buy to come from olives that are cold pressed (no more than 24-25 C), since this is the only way to keep intact all the precious substances like vitamins, antioxidants, oleocanthal etc.
Also since olive oil is essentially oil that means it contains many calories in small amounts (9 calories per gram). That’s the reason why you should be careful not to consume high quantities because you can easily exceed your daily calorie needs and gain weight.