Studies show that olive oil is the healthiest source of fatty acids. Given the resurgence of this food, it is convenient to clarify some doubts.

The word oil comes from azzait, an Arabic word that means “olive juice”.

Used for centuries as food, medicine and also to preserve and light, olive oil is part of the so-called Mediterranean trilogy with wheat and vine.

Olive oil has stood the test of time and has even survived the 1960s trend to prefer seed oils or margarine

In addition to the unquestionable healthy characteristics of olive oil, its recognized gastronomic value has also been added.

Olive oil, with its extraordinary contribution of monounsaturated fats , in particular oleic acid, is the subject of renewed dietary interest given the increase in the consumption of fats, especially saturated fats, and also given the imbalance between polyunsaturated fats : an increase in omega-6 fatty acids (those that come from seeds) and a decrease in omega-3s (from some vegetables and fish).

It also has another heart-healthy factor: polyphenols, antioxidants of vegetable origin, especially abundant in the variety of virgin oil.

It has long been known that “bad” cholesterol (LDL) is a predictive marker of coronary risk, and being high is as dangerous as it is oxidized. This is where the polyphenols in olive oil play an essential role.

THE BEST FAT: OLIVE OIL

The presence of olive oil as the main source of fat is one of the pillars of a healthy diet and numerous studies indicate that a diet rich in it can reduce the incidence of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

According to the Predated study (Prevention with Mediterranean Diet) there is historical data that the populations of the Mediterranean area that use olive oil as their main culinary fat suffer less chronic and degenerative diseases than the populations of northern Europe that regularly use other fats, such butter, margarines, or bacon.

However, olive oil should not be considered a medicine or a panacea. To obtain the maximum benefits from its consumption, it is necessary to frame it in a varied and frugal diet.

WHAT IS THE BEST OLIVE OIL?

Olive oil is considered a very healthy fat in itself, but virgin oil, apart from being the most natural, is the most beneficial, since it preserves all the healthy components of olives, including vitamin E and other powerful antioxidants. , which are largely lost with refining.

WHAT IS THE ACIDITY OF OLIVE OIL?

It is an anomaly caused by the poor condition of the fruits or defective processing or storage.

It depends on the amount of free oleic acid, not bound to triglycerides or fats: 1 degree of acidity indicates the presence of 1 g / 100 g (1% free oleic acid).

The higher the quality of the oil, in general, the lower the acidity.

WHAT IS VIRGIN OLIVE OIL?

It is obtained from the fruit of the olive tree by mechanical procedures or other physical procedures that do not alter the quality of the oil, such as using heat above 35 ° C to increase production.

Extra virgin olive oil is the least acidic (less than 1 °) and must exceed a score of 6.5 in an expert tasting.

WHAT OTHER TYPES OF OLIVE OIL ARE THERE?

The refined oil is obtained the oil refining olive, to remove unwanted components.

Dry “olive oil” is made up of refined olive oil – almost devoid of flavor, smell and color – enriched with aromatic and fruity virgin oils. Its maximum acidity is 1.5 °.

HOW MUCH IS RECOMMENDED TO TAKE?

Olive oil is a basic food, of which it is recommended to take daily.

At present, and when there are no contraindications to the contrary, the general recommendations for its consumption in healthy adults of both sexes are between 30 and 50 g per day, that is, three to five tablespoons.

IS OLIVE OIL VERY CALORIC?

It is an almost pure fat, which makes it one of the foods that provide the highest number of kilocalories per gram: 9.

But what is decisive is the total energy balance that occurs per day between calorie intake and expenditure.

WHAT IS THERE TO LOOK AT ON THE LABEL?

When buying olive oil, it is important to take into account several elements:

  • A fundamental fact is the type of olive oil.
  • Also, the date of preferential consumption on the container, which allows to deduce its age (since the oil is obtained, it begins to deteriorate).
  • In addition, the origin is of interest and if it is a product with a designation of origin, a distinction only applicable to the extra virgin.

IS IT THE MOST ADVISABLE FOR FRYING?

Yes, since it is the most stable and the one that best withstands high temperatures. But it is necessary to avoid that it burns, because then harmful substances are produced.

To do this, it must be heated over a moderate heat (without exceeding 180 ° C) and do not let it smoke.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO PRESERVE IT?

The oils should be stored in a dark place and at a temperature between 15 and 20 ° C. Excessive heat is especially detrimental to its gastronomic qualities.

On the other hand, the best thing to do to preserve its properties is to use opaque or colored containers that prevent the passage of light.

DOES IT ACT AS A GOOD PRESERVATIVE?

As it lacks water, it is an excellent preservative from a hygienic point of view. Hence it has been used for millennia.

Gastronomically it is also appreciated because it provides particular sensory characteristics.

But the caloric content of the preserve multiplies when it is soaked in oil.

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