in this article:
Olive oil is a fundamental and typical element of the Mediterranean diet, which can prevent cardiovascular disorders, prevent aging and improve health conditions in general, and is enrolled by UNESCO in the list of the immaterial cultural heritage of humanity. With the term ‘live oil’, all oils derived from the processing of olives are defined in a generic way, thus including a range of different products for quality and characteristics.
- 0Protein (g)
- 0Carbohydrates (g)
- 91.3Fat (g)
- 822Calories (KCal)
- 14.1Saturated Fat (g)
- 68Monounsaturated Fat (g)
- 9.2Polysaturated Fat (g)
- 0Cholesterol (g)
- 0Dietary Fiber (g)
- 0Sodium (g)
- 12Vitamin E (mg)
- 0Sugars (g)
- 0Water (g)
- 0Glycemic index (g)
- 9.762Linoleic Acid (g)
- 0.761Linolenic Acid (g)
Extra virgin olive oil, Nature’s own elixir
Extra virgin olive oil, the basic condiment of our Mediterranean diet, is an indispensable food for the well-being of the body. Arguably, olive oil is the best superfood in the Mediterranean diet. In addition to its nourishing qualities that come with every small serving, it contains vitamins that are important in combating many cardiovascular diseases. Extra virgin olive oil is undoubtedly the best seasoning fat we have. The great benefits that it holds for our health are due first and foremost to the type of fatty acids that compose it. Like in the vast majority of fats of plant origin, these are essentially unsaturated, i.e., fatty acids that tend to decrease cholesterol levels and in part increase the HDL (high-density lipoprotein), the so-called good cholesterol. This is in contrast to animal fats which are instead formed by a high percentage of saturated fatty acids which, on the contrary, tend to increase cholesterol and in particular LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or bad cholesterol.
For the Greeks the oil was precious: the athletes were olive oil before fighting body-to-body and the winners of the Olympic Games received a crown of olive branches, they received as an anfore oil prize, in addition to the hate Poets and invaluable respect by the citizens. In the Phoenician and Cretan peoples, the oil had initiatory functions and was above all a source of light, not just in the metaphorical sense: the oil lamp had to be spread.
At different times, humans have simultaneously noticed how powerful and beneficial the oil was: the Egyptians thank Isis for having introduced it, the Greeks Athena for having planted it on the acropolis and as the first meal of the day they used to consume the ‘ Acrotinos ‘, meaning bread and oil in wine. The Romans used it for the preparation of numerous recipes, famous for that of Grazio: a pie slice with oil, cheese, flour and honey.
Composition and properties of olive oil
Olive oil is one of the richest oleic acid (about 62%), the most abundant of long-chain monounsaturated fatty acids in our body, with great nutritional and emollient properties for the skin.
In addition to oleic acid, olive oil contains about 15% linoleic acid, 15% palmitic acid and 2% stearic acid.
It also contains an insaponifiable fraction ranging from 1 to 2% and provides this oil with a significant concentration of active antioxidant ingredients including: phenolic compounds, chlorophyll, vitamin E, phytosterols with restorative and anti-inflammatory and squalene, one of the main components of the skin surface.
The characteristics of olive oil and its role in the Mediterranean diet as it is classified, its nutritional qualities, the relationship with dyslipidemia and its anti-diabetic and antitumor properties. Depending on the quality of the olives, their freshness and integrity, the degree of acidity and the processing, olive oils are classified as follows:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
‘Classical olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical processes’; has a free acidity expressed as oleic acid, not more than 0,8 g per 100 g.
Virgin Olive Oil
‘Olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by means of mechanical processes’; it has a free acidity expressed in oleic acid, up to 2 g per 100 g.
Refined Olive Oil
‘Oil containing exclusively olive oils which have undergone a refining process and oils obtained directly from the olives’; is obtained by the cutting of refined olive oil with virgin olive oil other than sunflower oil, has a free acidity expressed in oleic acid not exceeding 1 g per 100 g and is the result of mixing between a rectified oil, subjected to a chemical process aimed at the elimination of chemical and organoleptic defects, and a virgin olive oil. There is no minimum quantity of virgin olive oil established but is usually a minimum percentage, inserted to improve the color, smell and taste of the oil.
Orujo Olive Oil
‘Oil containing exclusively oils derived from the working of the product obtained after the extraction of olive oil and oils obtained directly from the olives’ / ‘Oil containing exclusively oils derived from the treatment of olive oil and oils obtained directly From the olives‘; Is obtained by the cutting of fine olive oil and virgin olive oil other than sunflower oil and has a free acidity expressed in oleic acid not exceeding 1 g per 100 g.
To have the guarantee that the oil has been squeezed from healthy olives exclusively by mechanical action, at a temperature below 27 degrees, the word ‘virgin’ or ‘extravergine’ must appear on the label. Of the two, the extra virgin is obviously better because it has better values in a number of quality parameters. Instead, a simple olive oil is rectified by chemical processes, which in itself are not dangerous to health but worsening for the quality of the product. In fact, in addition to not having the aromas and flavors of a good extra-virgin, it lacks those molecules that make olive oil a great food to protect your health.
Nutritional qualities of olive oil
Olive oil is particularly rich in oleic acid (monoinsaturate) which decreases ‘bad cholesterol’, LDL, and leaves unchanged or slightly increases ‘good cholesterol’, HDL; Is therefore particularly well suited for dyslipidemia sufferers and particularly for those with elevated LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol values.
Olive oil is excellent raw (and raw is usually consumed) but is also suitable for cooking and frying; In fact, given its high smoke, due to the presence of antioxidants, it is able to remain stable even at high temperatures.
Extra virgin olive oil has the best nutritional qualities, taste and digestibility and has proven to be the most suitable for daily consumption; Contains polyphenols, antioxidants (these substances are almost completely lost if the oil is refined), vitamin E and beneficial fats, monoinstitutional.
Quality oil is guaranteed by the DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) and IGP (Typical Geographical Indication) certification; It is better to prefer when purchasing oil squeezed in the year (the year of squeezing is reported on the label).
The benefits of olive oil
The main feature of olive oil, the one that puts it above all the other fats, animals or plants that there are, is the presence of some molecules including vitamins, alpha and gamma tocoferols and beta chaothenes, phytosterols , squalene and phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, alcohols and phenolic acids. It is a mix of essentially valuable antioxidant substances both for the oil itself as it protects it from irrigation and our health by opposing the formation of free radicals, reactive molecules that naturally form and that so much harm to our cells.
Olive oil and dyslipidemia
Extra virgin olive oil, consumed raw, so as to preserve all nutritional qualities, has protective effects against dyslipidemia (it is able to reduce bad cholesterol, LDL, good for the good, HDL) and atherosclerosis, reducing inter alia the risk of heart attack and hypertension, and is able to slow down aging, especially for fatty acids and vitamins (in particular E, A, D and K); It also seems to possess anti-diabetic and antitumor properties.
Anti-diabetic and anti-tumor properties of olive oil, and not only
Antidiabetic properties have been highlighted by an Italian study published on Nutrition & Diabetes conducted by the Sapienza University in Rome; According to this study, extra virgin olive oil could increase the production of hormones that can reduce blood glucose levels and thus have protective effects against diabetes.
Antitumor properties have been highlighted in particular by a Spanish study of breast cancer and an Italian study of colon cancer. The first study, published in Jama International Medicine, was conducted in Spain by the Universities of Pamplona and Madrid, under a Mediterranean Diet Prevention Program (PREDIMED). The second study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, was conducted by the University Campus Bio-Medico in Rome and the Universities of Teramo and Camerino with the collaboration of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm: according to this study, the intake of oil extra virgin olive oil would act by promoting the production of the CNR1 gene, which has suppressive activity against colon cancer.
According to another study conducted in Sweden, the monounsaturated acids of olive oil play a protective role against the breast of women. Dr. Alicia Wolk from the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm and other Swedish researchers studied 61,471 women between the ages of 40 and 76 between 1987 and 1990. Women were mammograms, completed a self-administered questionnaire on frequency and were followed with care and zeal.
The data were collected by the Swedish Cancer Registry to determine who developed breast cancer during the study period. The data obtained led researchers to highlight a potential protective action of monounsaturated fats: the study was published on the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Extra virgin olive oil is a particularly important component in the nutrition of children: the fats contained therein are able to improve the assimilation of useful substances to ensure balanced development. It is also able to promote intestinal regularity and counteract constipation, reduce the risk of gastric and duodenal ulcers, increase sense of satiety (it would seem to be due to the presence of essential, which can reduce and slow the absorption of glucose, prolonging the feeling of satiety), to reduce the risk of developing gallstones, to counteract respiratory problems (due to the presence of alpha-tocopherol, more active form of vitamin E), and to promote liver function.
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat composed almost entirely of triglycerides. The most preferred fatty acids are oleic, linoleic and palmitic. Food from multiple virtues contributes to body growth, to the process of myelinating the brain and to the formation of the bones.
Tips on olive oil consumption
Let us proceed with some tips on olive oil and some recommendation on choice, use and conservation. To be harmonious and fruity, characterized by hints of almond, artichoke and ripe fruit, the oil is beautifully mixed with salads, soups, soups, Tuscan ribollita, panzanella and lots of first or second courses. Extra virgin olive oil is always preferred in all hot preparations, including frying, because it is more resistant to high temperatures and richer in antioxidants. Between olive oil and seed oil the difference is not in caloric input: both oils provide 9 Kcal per gram of ingested substance. However, with the same caloric power, flavor is quite different.
In the case of extra-virgin olive oil, it may happen that on the bottom of the bottle deposit fragments of fruit initially in suspension, a typical phenomenon of the un filtered product. In this case it is recommended to pour it because the fragments of olives, which also enrich it with taste and aroma, can ferment and alter the organoleptic characteristics. Unlike what happens to wine that can enjoy aging, extra virgin olive oil is preferable again because time plays against its beneficial properties.
In addition to being an excellent reconstitute for internal use, olive oil regenerates and strengthens even when used in massages. Frill it along the spine twice a day, and you will find vitality and energy.
Garlic infused olive oil
Garlic flavored oil, also simply called garlic oil, is obtained by breaking garlic cloves and immersing them for a while in extra virgin olive oil. This process gives this oil various antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. In addition to acting in favor of the skin, it fights acne and other aesthetic issues. Garlic flavored oil is a particularly suitable condiment to accompany fish or meat dishes. It is prepared by putting 5-6 cloves of peeled garlic cut into two or more pieces in a sealed bottle. Pour one liter of extra virgin olive oil and tap it hermetically. Let the oil with garlic infuse in 3-4 weeks, shaking occasionally. Next, filter the oil and remove the cloves of garlic. For a delicately flavored oil, decrease the amount of garlic.
To improve your immune system, it is good to know that garlic oil is very effective in fighting carcinogenic cells and its regular use allows to remove toxins and heavy metals, such as mercury and lead from the body, but above all acts positively for people with hemophilia, for its ability to act positively on the bloodstream.
Garlic flavored oil is rich in allyl sulfide, essential in the prevention of pancreatic, prostate, breast, and stomach cancer. It allows to control cholesterol and protects the heart. Gradually incorporating this oil into your diet lowers your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, triglycerides and dramatically lowering your blood pressure.
Garlic oil is effective in fighting and eliminating dandruff. By applying an adequate amount of garlic oil on the skin, it reduces the amount of dandruff present. It is an easy way to eliminate itching and crusts to get a clean, dry scalp. Try this remedy for 15 days and observe the result.
Garlic infused oil is a remedy for toothache. Mainly caused by bacterial infections, garlic flavored oil is very effective against toothache and is an excellent remedy. Put a few drops of garlic oil on a cotton swab and continue rubbing the affected area for a time varying between 10-40 minutes, it will help alleviate the local pain. Repeat this procedure no more than two or three times a day.
Cure ear infections with garlic oil. Rich in antiviral, antiseptic and antibacterial properties, garlic aromatized oil allows to treat different types of infections, reducing irritation and pain in the areas where it is applied.
Garlic infused oil reduces acne. Acne is a very serious problem for those who suffer from it, there is an infinite amount of treatments and products so why not try the garlic oil? Add a few drops to your mask and look at the results.
Olive oil mayonnaise
Mayonnaise is one of the basic preparation of the kitchen, probably the most popular and consumed sauce in the world. You can buy it at any store, packed in tubes or cans, but following this simple recipe you can take advantage of the unique taste of a good home-made mayonnaise and the benefits of olive oil. Making mayonnaise by hand or with the blender means being able to appreciate the delicacy of a homemade sauce with a different flavor than the industrial preparation, and a whole new level of nutritional density and benefits for health.
Unlike what you might think, making mayonnaise is not a complicated operation. Just make sure you always use oil and eggs at room temperature (if too cold, mayonnaise may not set) and pour both oil and lemon (or alternatively 2 tablespoons of white vinegar) drops gradually, waiting for them to be fully homogenized.
As far as the choice of oil is concerned, you can use the olive oil and get a very intense salsa. For more delicate preparations, however, you can mix olive oil with that of grapeseeds, paying attention to respecting the total quantity indicated in the recipe. To cope with problem when the ingredients do not bind to each other, you can add another yolk into a small amount of the inconsistent mix and stabilize the consistency. As far as conservation is concerned, mayonnaise is kept cool in the fridge for 3-4 days inside a tight-closed jar.
Drinking olive oil
Drinking olive oil of extra virgin type has remarkable healing powers to benefit the intestines, kidneys and liver. Extra virgin olive oil is really one of the best allies of our health: for example, a spoonful of olive oil consumed on an empty stomach purifies the intestine and stimulates its activity, helping to resolve the most obstinate constipation. But not only: in the same dose, followed by a lemon juice, it helps dissolve kidney stones and re-equilibrate the function of the liver. According to some studies, its unsaturated fats help to reduce blood glucose levels and it is now proven that a constant, strictly raw, consumption lowers cholesterol.
But how to choose a good extra virgin olive oil for drinking? In general, it is good to opt for extra virgin cold squeezed olive oil. Since it is first pressed, it is the purest form of oil. The oil is naturally formed in the cells of the olives and is then extracted with careful physical or mechanical processes, such as grinding and twisting, which keep the properties intact. Among these, vitamin content is particularly important: extra virgin olive oil contains vitamins A, C and E, the antioxidant and anti-aging effect. It completes the nutrient supply of vitamin B, which regenerates the nervous system. It nourishes the stomach and fights fatigue, but its properties are more numerous:
Olive oil actively remedies inflammation of the digestive system, protects and nourishes the stomach mucus by promoting the transit of food. Drinking extra virgin olive oil stimulates muscular contraction of the gall bladder. Thus it prevents the formation of gallstones.
Tips on choosing the type of olive oil
Olive oil is divided into extra virgin olive oil, that is, virgin olive oil whose free acidity expressed in oleic acid is not more than 0,8 g per 100 grams (0,8%) and less peroxide number Of 20 (equivalent to O2 / Kg. Oil); Virgin olive oil (the term ‘up’ may be used at the stage of production and wholesale), having an organoleptic score of 5,5 or more and having a maximum acidity of 2 g per 100 grams (2%) and with a number of peroxides of less than 20; Light virgin olive oil: virgin olive oil whose organoleptic score is less than 3.50 and / or whose free acidity is greater than 2 g per 100 grams (3.3%) and with a peroxide number greater than 20 .
Tips on olive oil storage
Extra virgin olive oil must be stored in well-closed glass containers away from sources of light and heat. As all food products must be consumed within the recommended expiration time, overcoming the date of preferable consumption does not cause health damage, but the product loses aroma and can deteriorate.
Olive oil in cosmetics
For internal use, olive oil has digestive and laxative properties and is therefore recommended in digestive disorders. The cosmetic properties of olive oil, great for skin after sun exposure or hair removal, for opaque hair and to strengthen nails. For external use it has nourishing, soothing, emollient and antioxidant action and protects the epidermis from external aggressions such as cold, wind and sun.
Olive oil can be applied pure or mixed with other essential oils and vegetable oils: for example, with a few drops of essential lavender oil, the repair action of olive oil is strengthened in the case of cracked skin.
It is a particularly greasy oil, so that after skin application remains unbleached, it is advisable to mix it with a more penetrating oil such as macadamia or jojoba wax. A mild soothing doping oil can be prepared by mixing 30 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil with 20 milliliters of jojoba liquid wax and 50 drops of essential lavender oil.
Olive oil is also included in many cosmetic formulations for its properties, so we can find it in moisturizing creams for hands, face and body, bath and massage oils, lip balm, body cleansing products; olive oil is also the main ingredient in the production of soap in Marseilles and that of Aleppo.
In addition to skincare, olive oil is also used for the treatment and beauty of hair and nails, in the case of opaque hair, fragile nails and scalp irritations because it nourishes protects the color and brilliance of the hair, Soothes the scalp and strengthens the nails.
Olive oil therefore is found in composition of masks and hair balms for hair and scalp, in particular associated with the essential oil of rosemary and chamomile and the addition of essential oil of lemon to the care of hands and nails. A soothing mask for the scalp is prepared by mixing two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with four tablespoons of charcoal butter previously dissolved in a bain-marie and adding to the clotted compound fifty drops of essential cypress oil, available at a herbalist’s.
In addition to being easily available oil, olive oil has a low average cost and is a stable oil that does not deteriorate rapidly; it is stored for several months at room temperature, in a dry place and away from sources of heat and light.
Olive oil for skin
Olive oil is a great oil for skin, hair and nails; as has already been mentioned, it easily accessible and not too costly, is also an oil that is stored for several months. It can be applied pure or mixed with other oils to favor its absorption or with essential oils to strengthen its reparative action.
Soothing oil after sun and post-epilation
Here are the ingredients and the quantities to prepare a mild soothing oil:
- 30 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil
- 20 milliliters of jojoba liquid wax
- 50 drops of essential lavender oil
This oil mixture can be massaged after waxing to soften the skin and calm the redness due to epilation.
Olive oil for hair and olive oil for hair growth
In addition to skincare properties, olive oil is also used for the treatment and beauty of hair and nails.
In case of opaque hair and scalp irritations you can prepare a soothing mask with:
- 20 grams of extra virgin olive oil
- 40 grams of shea butter
- 50 drops of essential cypress oil, or alternatively rosemary or chamomile, available at herbalist’s.
After heating the shea butter, add the olive oil and let it cool by mixing; once lukewarm, add the essential oil. The mask is applied to the damp hair before the shampoo and is allowed to act for at least fifteen minutes; tt has nourishing action, protects the color and brilliance of the hair and soothes the scalp.
Olive oil for nails
To strengthen the fragile nails and attenuate the skin’s skin stains, just mix it:
- Two drops of essential lemon oil with
- A teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.
Massages the oil mixture into the skin on the hands in the evening before going to bed for it to act its benefits during the entire night.
How to get olive oil out of clothes
If we have managed to convert you to our olive oil religion, it is inevitable that sooner or later you will get your clothes stained in this elixir of life. Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered. Oil stains on clothes are tough to get rid of, and often a normal washing machine alone is not enough to permanently eliminate them. Here are 3 tips to remove oil stains from your clothes once and for all.
To remove the oil stains from the clothes, before going to the classic washing machine with the program for very dirty linen, pour a drop of liquid detergent for dishes on the stain. Let it soak for a few moments and then rub it slightly and go to the washing machine with the addition of a little vinegar. If your oil stain is on a sufficiently strong fabric, sprinkle over the household multipurpose cleaning agent, preferably with Marseille soap. Let it soak a few minutes and then proceed with normal washing in the washing machine.
Another method that works to eliminate olive oil stains from the clothes is to sprinkle the stain with the salt and let it work for a few hours. Remove the salt with a teaspoon so that it does not get on other parts of the fabric then pour into the stain a drop of detergent for the dishes and rub with circular movements with a toothbrush. Rinse the stain and proceed to normal washing in the washing machine.
As a matter of fact, the above pieces of advice are applicable for pretty much every oily or greasy stain on your clothes.
Grapeseed vs. olive oil
Grapples are small seeds in grape berries (Vitis vinifera). Each grape contains one to four grains, which in turn keeps large amounts of oil (15-16%). By-product of the oenological industry, grape seed oil is appreciated both in the cosmetic and in the dietetic-food fields.
Grape seed oil Its main nutritional characteristic is related to the high content of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid of the omega-6 series. Despite being rich in antioxidant compounds of the phenolic nature, also friends of our health, grape seed oil is altered with heat and should preferably be used raw. To avoid premature deterioration, store it in a cool place, away from light and heat. On the market, however, refined grape oils are found with an extremely high smoke point, which makes them suitable for long-cooking evenings. Unfortunately, while elevating high temperature resistance, on the other hand refining reduces the amount of antioxidant substances present in the food.
Grape seed oil is attributed to hypocholesterolemic properties. Indeed, omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to be effective in lowering the rate of blood cholesterol, lowering the plasma levels of the good HDL and bad LDL fraction. The richness of antioxidants contributes to enhancing its protective properties on the health of the cardiovascular system, however, it is consumed in small doses to avoid too much calories (the consequent overweight would undo all virtues) and not exceed with the addition of omega-6 (which, when not adequately compensated by a diet rich in fish or other omega-3 sources, favors the production of bad eicosanoids).
Vitamin E content is modest compared to that of other vegetable oils, such as wheat germ, corn, soy or sunflower oil. The lack of the antioxidant effect of this vitamin is, however, largely offset by the richness in polyphenols, a peculiar and almost exclusive feature of grape seed oil. Its antioxidant action is widely exploited in cosmetics, protecting against which protects the skin from premature aging, atmospheric agents and free radicals. Grape seed oil applied to the skin also has astringent, firming and stimulating properties on capillary microcirculation.
The following is the nutritional composition stated on the label of a commercial grape seed oil, comparing it to that of an extra virgin olive oil of the same brand.
Grapseed Oil vs Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Nutritional Qualities
|Grapeseed Oil, 100 ml||Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 100 ml|
|Energy value||830 KCal||822 KCal|
|3411 KJ||3378 KJ|
|Protein||0 g||0 g|
|Carbohydrates||0 g||0 g|
|Sugars||0 g||0 g|
|Total fat||92.2 g||91.3 g|
|Saturated fat||10.2 g||14.1 g|
|Monounsaturated fat||17.5 g||68 g|
|Polysaturated fat||64.5 g||9.2 g|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0 mg|
|Dietary fiber||0 g||0 g|
|Sodium||0 g||0 g|
|Vitamin E||15 mg||12 mg|