Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Properties and Benefits
Extra virgin olive oil has a wealth of health benefits. It is derived from the squeezing of olives that are the fruit of the olive tree (or olive tree) whose scientific name is Olea europeae.
Extra virgin olive oil is a fundamental food of the Mediterranean diet. It is now considered a key element for the treatment and prevention of various pathologies.
According to several studies conducted several times, several beneficial properties of extra virgin olive oil have been demonstrated. Phytosterols, a group of sterols present in the oil, reduce blood cholesterol levels.
To this is added the activity of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid and palmitolic acid. These, beyond and reducing LDL cholesterol levels, increase the amount of good cholesterol HDL.
Studies show that these substances help to prevent heart disease and stroke. A research conducted in France on elderly patients has shown that regular intake of extra virgin olive oil can reduce the risk of stroke by 41%.
Decreases by about 30% the chance of cardiac infarction and decreases blood pressure. The polyphenols and vitamin E found in extra virgin olive oil, thanks to their antioxidant action, help to prevent arteriosclerosis and slow down the aging of the cells.
Arthritis and Osteoporosis
The mechanisms with which it works are still unclear. Recent studies have shown that people who take a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil have less chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Benefits to bones have also been highlighted in the prevention of osteoporosis. It seems that regular olive oil intake improves calcium absorption by the body.
As reported by several studies, there are data that correlate the use of extra virgin olive oil with a reduction in certain types of cancer. Especially breastfeeding. In addition, cancer mortality is higher in northern European countries than in the Mediterranean countries.
A diet rich in this precious liquid is able to reduce the risk of diabetes 2 by almost 50%. An article on this topic was published in the Diabetes Care magazine.
It has always been thought that a fat-rich diet could increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Thanks to continuous studies on the subject now it is known that the amount of fats is not affecting our health but rather the quality. A diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids such as those found in extra virgin olive oil and dried fruits, is able to protect the organism from many of these pathologies.
A whole Spanish study argues that a diet rich in unsaturated fatty acids that are present in extra virgin olive oil, in fish and in some vegetables, has properties that can bring benefits in the prevention of depression.
A study published on Chemical Neuroscience has shown that the oleocanal, the substance responsible for piercing in the throat, has properties useful to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
It is known to have beneficial effects on digestion. It is used as a medicinal oil to clean the digestive tract. This improves the intestinal movement with preventative effects on constipation.
Polyphenols present in extra virgin olive oil reinforce cell walls and increase blood vessel elasticity. In this way, there is greater protection for the cardiovascular system.
The Mediterranean diet is also known for its beneficial properties towards cognitive functioning, particularly on older people and adults. A study conducted in France on adult and elderly patients has shown that regular use of extra virgin olive oil can improve visual memory and verbal capacity.
Polyphenols are a very important substance for the preservation of the oil itself because they have antioxidant properties. Their presence prevents oil spill processes and thus ensures stability.
At the same time they give the oil a fruity scent and a slightly pungent bitter taste. Numerous studies have demonstrated the properties and benefits of these substances on the human body.