OIL & HEALTH
THE QUALITIES OF VIRGIN OIL
Did you know that…
Extra virgin olive oil the most suitable for frying food? This is because it is low in polyunsaturated fatty acids, the least resistant to oxidative deterioration. It is also high in oleic fatty acid (monounsaturated), which is much more stable, making it more resistant to high temperatures than other vegetable oils.
Other attributes of this oil include its nutritional properties. The most notable is the presence of oleic monounsaturated fatty acid, which contributes to raising HDL (good cholesterol) levels and decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Therefore, it is a very effective product in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
In particular it’s worth mentioning the relationship between linoleic (omega 6) and linolenic (omega 3) polyunsaturated fatty acids, recommended in health terms as the most satisfactory (6:1).
It is also worth noting the important content of vitamin E and polyphenols, which act as antioxidants to counteract the cellular ageing process. It is important to note that oils that are not virgin do not contain polyphenols and vitamins A and E.
BENEFITS OF VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
As mentioned above, the benefits of virgin olive oil lie in its fatty acid content:
- Monounsaturated fatty acid: Oleic acid
- Polyunsaturated fatty acid: Linoleic acid (omega 6) and linoleic acid (omega 3)
Fatty acids are essential in the composition of phospholipids, precursors of prostaglandins (hormonal substances essential in many biological activities). They activate the enzymes linked to cell membranes, increase the fluidity of these membranes and many other biochemical processes.
Olive oil contains the perfect proportion of saturated (15%), monounsaturated (75%) and polyunsaturated (10%) acids. Its very high oleic acid content makes it a very stable oil in the face of oxidation. Moreover, polyunsaturated acids that are essential in our diet, but are very susceptible to oxidation processes, are present in just the right amount to cover the biological needs of our bodies.
Other benefits are derived from its very high content of antioxidant substances:
- Vitamin E (tocopherols)
- Vitamin A (carotenes, provitamin A)
These substances, in addition to acting as catalysts for many biochemical reactions, act as neutralizers of free radicals (harmful substances that are formed as a result of biochemical reactions), which are responsible, among other things, for premature ageing.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning the aromatic substances present in Extra Virgin oils, which activate digestion, modifying the composition of gastric acid with a higher concentration of pepsin.
AILMENTS WHICH VIRGIN OLIVE OIL CAN HELP PREVENT
- Regulates cholesterol levels, reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL)
- Prevents premature (physical and brain) ageing, neutralizing free radicals.
- Prevents arteriosclerosis, thanks to the role of oleic acid in regulating blood pressure. Protects from cardiovascular diseases in general.
- Facilitates digestion, with beneficial effects on gastritis and stomach ulcers.
- Improves intestinal absorption and gallbladder function (helps prevent gallstone formation)
- Facilitates evacuation, avoiding constipation.
- Improves the glycaemic profile of persons with diabetes.
- Contributes to the prevention of breast and colon cancers.
TREATMENTS USING VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Important: Bear in mind that the benefits and attributes described above are only provided through the consumption of extra virgin oil (both raw and in cooking), since its preserves all its antioxidants and unaltered fatty acids.
- To avoid constipation and dissolve gallstones: take 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil on an empty stomach. In persistent cases the dose can be increased without any problem.
- In cosmetics: to prevent the appearance of wrinkles, here are two formulas that can be applied with a cotton pad twice a day and left to act for 20-25 minutes:
- 50 ml of extra virgin olive oil, 12 drops of carrot essence and 12 drops of lavender essence. Put everything in a bottle and mix evenly.
- 50 ml of extra virgin olive oil and 50 ml of extra virgin sunflower oil (only found in specialized shops, since normal retailers only sell refined sunflower oil), also mixed evenly.
- Lowering blood pressure.
- As a diuretic.
- Drink on an empty stomach and before going to sleep for two weeks, wait a week, and then continue for two more weeks.
Apart from these treatments using extra virgin olive oil, other elements of the olive can be used, such as olive leaves...
Herbal tea ideal for:
Take two dozen olive leaves and boil them for 15 minutes in ¼ litre of water.
* If you are looking to reduce high blood pressure, you can use the same herbal tea but more concentrated. 30 g for 1 litre of water. Boil until it reduces to ½ litre, which you should drink in two doses each day.