Usually, everything that tastes great will have a negative result on your waistline and often even on your health. The opposite is true for genuine Extra Native olive oil. Being a powerful seasoning, it adds a unique flavour to many dishes and can prevent a wide variety of diseases or even heal them – this has been proven beyond any doubt by countless scientific studies.
In Mediterranean countries, heart attacks,arteriosclerosis, diabetes, atopic dermatitisand even the mortality rate with various types of cancer are significantly lower than in the northern countries. The dietary key reason for this is probably the use of oliveoil. In the Mediterranean countries, olive oilis the main fat source. The people on Sar- dinia and Crete consume around 50 litres of olive oil per person per year in some parts of their islands.
On average, olive oil consists to 80% of monounsaturated (oleic acid – omega 9), 12% saturated and 8% polyunsaturated (mostly linoleicacid – omega 6) fatty acids. Due to this fatty acid constellation, olive oil has wrongly been seen as ineffective for regulating the plasma lipoprotein particles (cholesterol) level. Today they know better: When consumed on a regular basis, olive oil lowers the LDL cholesterol to a perfect level, while HDL cholesterol, which is responsible for transporting any excess cholesterol to the liver, remains unchanged by the consumption of olive oil. Olive oil is also highly beneficial for the digestive system and can even be recommended for chronic hyperacidity of the stomach.
Also in natural medicine, olive oil is used as a base ingredient for massage oils or drugs. Here, in particular the unsaponifiable frac- tions such as polyphenols, tocopherols (vita-min E), squalenes, triterpenes etc. are utilised.Polyphenols catch and neutralise free radi- cals. Some polyphenols are seen as can- cer-combatting agents, while others havehighly beneficial effects for the cardiovascularsystem. The scientist Dr. Gary Beauchamp has found out that the polyphenol oleocan-thal, which is abundant in high-quality nativeolive oil and when drinking such oil in pure form is responsible for the scratching sensa- tion in the throat, suppresses the enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 that are responsible for inflammations. These are the enzymes that are also involved in causing the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome (e.g. high blood pressure in combination with diabetes mellitus) is widespread and also re- sponsible for the steadily rising costs in the healthcare sector. The EU Regulation 432/2012 from 2012 even allows to derive the health-related statement – with certain reservations – that “olive oil polyphenols contribute in protecting the blood fats from oxidative stress”.
Extra Virgin olive oil is an indispensable in-gredient for the highly praised Mediterraneanway of life. However, one should be aware that frozen pizza and lasagne from the super- market don’t have much in common with the healthy, original Mediterranean diet, as they are often produced from cheap ingredi- ents such as white flour with high gluten levels, palm, sunflower or canola oil and ad- ditives such as artificial antioxidants. Today’s Mediterranean cuisine – which can varyconsiderably from region to region – includeshigh-quality protein from freshly caught fish, seafood, legumes such as peas and beans, nuts, red or white meat and eggs; carbohy- drates in the form of wholegrain rice, durum wheat pasta and potatoes; a lot of boiled, braised or roasted vegetables, and typical fruits of the region. In the most original re-gions, the dishes are prepared with abundantolive oil still today. And yes, red wine is fre- quently enjoyed.
If you want to switch to a healthy diet, buy seasonal foods and reduce your sugar intake.Also, use olive oil as your main fat source andavoid chemically processed seed oils. You can use Extra Virgin olive oil not only for pre- paring cold dishes but also for frying (when filtered, Extra Virgin olive oil can be heated up to 220 degrees) and for baking sweet dishes. Simply replace butter and margarine against olive oil. As a general rule: the weight of butter or margarine x 0.8 = the weight of olive oil. Any you should never compromise in the quality of your olive oil, for olive oil can only unfold all its positive effects on the hu- man body if it is of the very best quality. Low quality oils, on the other side, not only cotain little or no beneficial constituents at all, but can even be bad for your health. By consuming good fat or oil and reducing your in- take of heavily processed foods (e.g. sugar) you have already won half the battle for a long life.
By Alexandra Garcia