Extra virgin olive oil: why consume it regularly

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Elia Tabuenca García
@eliatabuencagarcia
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Extra virgin olive oil has always been considered an undisputed protagonist of the Mediterranean diet; it is placed in the fifth food group (ie among the seasoning fats).

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Extra virgin olive oil has always been considered an undisputed protagonist of the Mediterranean diet; it is placed in the fifth food group (i.e. between the seasoning fats). It is obtained by pressure and filtration and its chemical-physical characteristics derive from the type of olives, from the ripening time of these, from the time of collection and the processing time.





From the point of view nutritional, the extra virgin olive oil brings many health benefits human as:

1) It has the optimal ratio of essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3. Consequently, the eicosanoids derived from the two initial molecules are balanced in the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects. If this were not the case, they would increase the inflammatory compounds (causing inflammation) as they would decrease the enzymes available for omega-3s for the genesis of anti-inflammatory substances.

2) Omega-6s they are the most important fatty acids in the regulation of LDL-cholesterol. If its concentration is less than 5% of the total energy intake, the hypercholesterolizing effects of trans and saturated fats dominate and the cholesterol "Bad" would increase.

3) The omega-3s they are important for the health of blood vessels and act as regulators of the heart beat (anti-arrhythmic) at levels of 0.5-1% of the total energy supply.

READ also: EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: THE LIST OF BOCCIATE BRANDS

Index

But what are the micronutrients present in extra virgin olive oil?

Squalane

It is an intermediate of the biosynthesis of cholesterol, stimulates the acyl-coenzyme A which governs the esterification of cholesterol and which is related to the level of triglycerides. It: regulates the process of absorption, synthesis, esterification and elimination of cholesterol and exhibits an activity antioxidant similar to that of trans retinols.

Carotenoids

They are a class of organic pigments, have antioxidant properties, perform protective action towards the chronic degenerative diseases like tumors, they protect the skin, slow down skin aging and prevent vision-related pathologies. The following carotenoids are contained in the oil: Lutein, Violaxanthin, Neoxanthin, beta carotene, beta crypto xanthine and Luteoxanthin.



tocopherols

They are powerful antioxidants. Alpha tocopherol is known as Vitamin E and it is the main tocopherol contained in olive oils. Slows down aging, enhances the immune system and is an ally in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

phytosterols

They have a structure similar to cholesterol, but it differs from it in that ethyl and methyl groups are present in position 24 of the side chain of Carbon C24. They have a cholesterol-lowering action and are antagonists in the absorption of cholesterol. Cycloartenol and 24 methyl artenol help fight coronary heart disease. Phytosterols must be introduced through the diet, as the human organism does not have the enzymatic kit suitable for synthesizing them.

READ also: EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL A GOOD FAT: HOW MUCH TO CONSUME A DAY AND HOW?

Polyphenols, bio phenols and phenols

There are powerful antioxidants, with mainly anti-inflammatory action. The main ones are phenolic acids and their derivatives, phenolic alcohols, secoiridoins, flavones and anthocyanidins. The basic properties of phenols: the anti-cardiogenic effect (... consisting in the prevention of heart failure ...), the anti-atherogenic effect (consists in preventing the formation of atheroma plaques, avoiding the risk of hardening and closing of the arteries, reducing the risk of onset of cardiovascular disease, the anti-inflammatory effect, the anti-bacterial effect and the antioxidant effect.

READ also: OLIVE OIL: 10 THINGS TO KNOW TO CHOOSE IT AND CONSUME IT AT THE BEST

Why is it useful to regularly consume extra virgin olive oil?

Here are eight reasons to take extra virgin olive oil:

1. It helps to maintain the lipid values ​​in the blood in the physiological range.
2. It is a source of essential fatty acids (so called because man does not have the enzymatic equipment to synthesize them and must therefore introduce them through the diet).
3. Thanks to the polyphenols present in them, it helps to prevent the post-prandial glycemic peak, acting on the alpha amylase (slowing it down), consequently insulin will be secreted in a lesser way.
4. It is an ally in the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases such as tumors.
5. It is good for the skin and hair.
6. It fights oxidative stress and the formation of free radicals, thanks to the antioxidant content present in it.
7. Being lipidic in nature, fat-soluble vitamins present in food, are easily more assimilable and bioavailable.
8. It makes the dish more palatable, enhancing its organoleptic qualities.



Dr. Sonia Bolognesi
Nutritionist Biologist
Collaborator of Studio ABR - www.alimentiesicurezza.com

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