Olive oil is the best food in the Mediterranean diet. In addition to nourishing us from an early age, it contains the crucial vitamins to fight many cardiovascular diseases. Extra virgin olive oil is undoubtedly the best seasoning fat we have. The great benefits it can bring to our health are primarily due to the type of fatty acids that make it up. As in the vast majority of plant-based fats, these are essentially of the type unsaturated, i.e. fatty acids that tend to decrease cholesterol levels and, in part, increase HDL, the so-called good cholesterol. This is in contrast to fats of animal origin which are instead formed by a high percentage of saturated fatty acids which, on the contrary, tend to increase cholesterol and, in particular, LDL, or bad cholesterol.
The main characteristic of olive oil, the one that places it above all other fats, whether animal or vegetable, is the presence of some molecules among which we find Vitamins, alpha and gamma tocopheroli e beta chaotene, phytosterols, squalene and phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, alcohols e phenolic acids. It is a mix of essentially character substances antioxidant precious both for the oil itself as they protect it from rancidity and for our health, opposing the formation of free radicals, reactive molecules that naturally form and do so much damage to our cells.
The benefits of extra virgin olive oil for our health are now scientifically proven and numerous studies indicate its constant use decrease the risk of cardiovascular disorders and the risk of cancer, especially those of the upper digestive system. Last but not least, extra virgin olive oil is important in regulating our body's natural defense system.
To have the guarantee that the oil has been pressed from healthy olives exclusively by mechanical action, at a temperature below 27 degrees, the word "virgin" or "extra virgin" must appear on the label. Between the two, the extra virgin one is obviously better, because it has better values in some quality parameters. A simple olive oil, on the other hand, is rectified with chemical procedures, which are not dangerous for health in themselves, but which are detrimental to quality. This, in fact, in addition to not having the aromas and flavors of a good extra virgin, is lacking in those molecules that make olive oil an excellent food to protect our health.
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