The olive for us is a way, a way of life, that's why every drop of oil it includes a year full of love and care.

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Olive oil and benefits

Undoubtedly, olive oil is one of the healthiest fats in the world. It is a main pillar of the Mediterranean diet and is found in many dishes and recipes of Greek cuisine. People who have olive oil regularly in their diet are usually the healthiest. All of the above are not just rumors and traditions. There are now several scientific studies that support the above claims.

Ελαιόλαδο & οφέλη-Olive oil & benefits

Olive oil contains a specific form of fatty acids and antioxidants with strong properties and health benefits such as protection against cardiovascular disease. Let’s take a detailed look. What is olive oil and how is it prepared? Olive oil is the juice from… olives. Traditionally we pick the olives, press them and pick the juices from which the olive oil is made. However, things are not so simple. There are so many qualities. Poor quality oils are extracted from olive juice with chemicals while others are impure because of mixing with cheaper oils. So we need to know that not all olive oils are the same. There are huge differences. By far the best olive oil is extra virgin. It is extracted by traditional methods and is characterized by purity and qualities such as taste and aroma.

Extra virgin olive oil has a distinctive taste that stands out and has a high content of a group of antioxidants called phenols. Phenols are responsible for most of the benefits of olive oil. In Greece we are very lucky as we have a huge production of olives and oil of relatively good quality and at low prices. Abroad, one of the biggest food scandals is adulterated olive oil, which is sold at a high price. Extra virgin olive oil has a particularly high nutritional value. It contains vitamin E and K as well as beneficial fatty acids (Ω3 / Ω6 / Ω9). However, the big difference in the nutritional value of olive oil is in the antioxidants it contains.

These specific phytochemical compounds are bioactive and many of them act as protectors against several diseases and health damage. One of the main antioxidants in olive oil with anti-inflammatory action is oleocanthal and oleuropein, phytochemicals that prevent the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol. To sum up, olive oil is especially rich in beneficial monounsaturated fats while it contains small quantities of Vitamin E and K. Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with valuable antioxidants that have multiple health benefits.

Against inflammation

Chronic inflammation is one of the leading causes of many diseases today. Some of these are cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndromes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. One of the key mechanisms behind the multiple benefits of olive oil is the fight against inflammation. There is significant proof that oleic acid which is found in abundance in olive oil, reduces signs of inflammation like C-reacted protein. However the basic anti-inflammatory effect of olive oil can be attributed to the antioxidants it contains such as oleander which mimics the effect of ibuprofen.
Researchers estimate that the amount of olive oil contained in 50 ml of extra virgin olive oil has a similar analgesic effect to 10% of the dose of ibuprofen for adults. There is also a study showing that the ingredients of olive oil reduce the gene and protein expression which trigger the inflammatory reaction. We must keep in mind that low levels of inflammation take years to cause damage. However, the damage is serious. Regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil helps fight inflammation and especially inflammation related to damage to the cardiovascular system. Cardiovascular disease (mainly heart attack) is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. Several observational studies have shown that death rates in certain parts of the world, such as the Mediterranean basin, are much lower than in the rest of the sample.

Ελαιόλαδο & οφέλη-Olive oil & benefits
Ελαιόλαδο & οφέλη-olive oil & benefits

Protection against cardiovascular disease

This finding has given great weight to research into the Mediterranean diet, which reflects the average diet of those living in these areas. Studies on the Mediterranean diet have shown that the risk of heart attack and death is reduced by up to 30%, a percentage not at all negligible. Extra virgin olive oil protects against cardiovascular diseases and ailments with several mechanisms and properties:
• Reduces inflammation: As mentioned above, olive oil protects against inflammation, which is largely responsible for cardiovascular problems.
• LDL cholesterol: Olive oil protects LDL from oxidation – a catalytic process in the development of heart disease.
• Improves endothelial function: Olive oil improves the function of the endothelium which makes up the inner walls of blood vessels.
• Thrombosis: Some studies claim that olive oil helps prevent blood clots, which is very important for the reduction of the risk of heart attack.
• Reduces blood pressure: A study in patients with high blood pressure found that olive oil reduced blood pressure significantly as well as the need for antihypertensive drugs by 48%.
Given the well-known biological effects of olive oil, it is no coincidence that we see people who regularly consume olive oil have particularly reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and death. The results of the studies we have in our hands now count to hundreds. Studies conducted in both humans and animals confirm the beneficial and cardioprotective effect of olive oil. We highly recommend the regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil. Most people have linked the effect of olive oil to heart health. But the benefits are not limited there. Let’s take a look at other survey results.

Olive oil in the fight against cancer

Studies have shown that the inhabitants of the Mediterranean basin have relatively lower rates of cancer and many believe that it has to do with the effect of olive oil. A factor associated with the development of cancer is the oxidation and damage caused by free radicals. 

Olive oil as already mentioned contains high amounts of antioxidants that reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress. The oleic acid in olive oil is highly resistant to oxidation and at the same time has beneficial effects on cancer-related genes. Many studies in test tubes have shown that the nutrients contained in olive oil fight cancer at the molecular level.

Olive oil in the fight against Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s disease is the world’s most common neurodegenerative disease and a leading cause of senile dementia. A characteristic of Alzheimer’s is the storage of proteins in the form of amyloid plaques on the surface of brain neurons. 

A study showed that an ingredient of olive oil contributed to the removal of these plaques from the brain. A study in a control group showed that people who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil had a beneficial effect on brain function and a reduced risk in people with neurological and cognitive disorders.

Is olive oilsuitable for frying?

During cooking, fatty acids are oxidized and destroyed, and often become harmful to health. It is mainly the double bonds in fatty acids that are responsible for this process. Thus, saturated fats that do not contain double bonds are resistant to high temperatures while polyunsaturated fats that contain many double bonds are particularly sensitive and can be damaged. 

Olive oil contains mainly monounsaturated fats that have only 1 double bond in their molecular structure, which makes them extremely resistant to high temperatures. In one study, researchers heated extra virgin olive oil at 180 degrees Celsius for 36 hours. Olive oil proved to be very stable and did not suffer much damage. Another study used olive oil in a fryer with continuous frying. It took 24 – 27 hours for the olive oil to become toxic. Summing up, we can say that olive oil is an ideal cooking oil for frying safely.