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Wellness

Not everyone knows that…oil and well-being

Many are the nutritional benefits of extra virgin olive oil, making it a suitable food for all ages, including young people who always strive to stay fit and at their peak energy levels. For example, the presence of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, helps counteract the so-called free radicals, considered among the culprits of aging in the body.

Here, extra virgin olive oil becomes very useful in preventing cardiovascular diseases, i.e., countering the onset of atherosclerosis and the risk of a heart attack. It is essential for children and the elderly because it limits the loss of bone calcium and is easily digestible, facilitates liver activity, and regulates intestinal activity.

Both for its digestibility and for its additional energy contribution, it is particularly suitable for young people who engage in intense sports activities.

NUTRITIONAL TABLE OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Calories: 9 kcal per gram (37 kJ per gram)
Cholesterol: absent
Vitamin E: 0.2-0.3 mg per gram
Total Fats: about 0.98 g per gram, of which
Saturated Fats: 10-15%
Monounsaturated Fats: 70-80%
Polyunsaturated Fats: 5-8%

Brillat- Savarin, Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are,” claimed Brillat-Savarin, the famous French gastronome of the late 18th century. In light of modern scientific research, the aphorism – later echoed by the German philosopher Feuerbach, who stated, “Man is what he eats” – seems today to be an emblematic synthesis of the relationship between man and nature, but above all, it alludes very effectively to the close connection between nutrition and health. We are all aware of it now, although some common beliefs survive that only science can help debunk.

Extra virgin olive oil, a precious commodity

Regarding the benefits of extra virgin olive oil, the most significant scientific study is undoubtedly attributed to the American researcher Ancel Keys. Starting from 1960, along with his wife Margaret, he conducted an extensive investigation comparing lifestyles and dietary habits of around 13,000 people from seven different nations, including Italy. The data collected, published in the Seven Countries Study, demonstrated that heavy consumers of animal fats, residing in countries in Central-Northern Europe or the United States, were much more at risk of cardiovascular disorders compared to those, like Italians and Greeks, accustomed to predominantly consuming extra virgin olive oil.

Subsequent scientific research further confirmed Keys’ thesis, contributing, among other things, to clarifying that extra virgin olive oil is not fatter than seed oil since they both have the same caloric intake. Moreover, thanks to specific extraction and preservation methods, extra virgin olive oil possesses a high nutritional value due to the presence of monounsaturated fatty acids (such as oleic acid) and minor components like polyphenols, beneficial in slowing down the aging processes of our body and fighting against free radicals.

By law, the extraction of extra virgin olive oil is carried out exclusively through physical and mechanical processes (without bio-chemical interventions), and it is precisely due to the correct use of these methodologies that its nutritional properties remain unchanged. This is not the case for seed oils, obtained through extraction and refining and therefore with the use of chemicals, which significantly reduce the presence of antioxidants.