The importance of the Mediterranean diet and in particular, the nutritional benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, are recognised internationally. Many epidemiological studies have demonstrated that incidences of illness due to heart attacks and certain types of cancer are fewer in the Mediterranean zone.

Different researchers have confirmed that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the main source of fat in the Mediterranean. It has also been confirmed that it has positive effects on human health, in particular, in the prevention of illnesses such as certain cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, etc.

Extensive scientific research has revealed the benefits that Olive Oil brings to our bodies. Olive Oil is the foundation of the Mediterannean Diet, a nutritional product essential to a population that has the highest average life expectancy in the world.

Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What is the source of Extra Virgin Olive Oil’s nutritional benefits?

EVOO is not only made up of fatty acids like oleic acid, but also contains many minority compounds like:

  • Hydrocarbons,
  • Tocopherols,
  • Alkanols,
  • Flavonoids,
  • Anthocyanins,
  • Sterols,
  • Phenols, etc.

These micro-elements give Extra Virgin Olive Oil an additional, nutritional value. They are antioxidisant compounds, which means that when we ingest them, our body can defend itself against oxidation.

The nutritional benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil are so extensive that it is considered a functional food with components that contribute to its universal therapeutic qualities.

The gold compound

The prize element in olive oil is called oleocanthal.

Oleocanthal is a phenol that is found abundantly in EVOO. Quantities vary between 284 and 711mg/kg. It is now known that oleocanthal is the unique phenolic component responsible for the burning sensation that some olive oils leave in the throat after they are consumed.

In 2005, the anti-inflammatory action of oleocanthals was confirmed. In addition, recent studies demonstrate that this compound can contribute to the fight against:

  • Different types of cancer (reference: Study undertaken by the Autonomous University of Barcelona);
  • Cardiovascular diseases;
  • And even Alzheimer’s, as is being researched in the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

Author: Hristofor Miho