New scientific evidence appears daily proving that extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) could indeed be described as food from the Gods. Recent long-term studies have clearly indicated that regular consumption of EVOO reduces the risk of dying prematurely (for instance from cancer or other chronic illness) by 26% and reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by a whopping 44%.
THERE ARE TWO MAIN GROUPS OF COMPOUNDS RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS IN EVOO:
- The mono-unsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) which make up to 65 – 80% of the fatty acid profile of olive oil. The lesser fatty acids are linoleic (9-12%) and linolenic acids (1%). The latter is known as Omega 3, which has strong anti-inflammatory characteristics.
- Polyphenols (also known as anti-oxidants) – there are many of these extremely important compounds.
Mono-unsaturated fatty acids protect the cardiovascular system. They regulate the optimal balance between the high density lipoproteins (HDL) and the dangerous, low density lipoproteins (LDL). This keeps our blood vessels free from build-up and improves hypertension. These fatty acids have also been shown to protect our bones. The slowing down of decline in memory and cognitive function has also been attributed to the mono-unsaturates.
Polyphenols (anti-oxidants), perceived in the oil as the bitter compounds and the pepperiness.
- They protect the oil against oxidation
- They have a positive effect on the genes involved in reducing circulating cholesterol.
- Oleuropein (the bitter compound) prevents intestinal ischemia and associated organ damage.
- Improves chronic colitis.
- Reduces toxin-induced oxidative stress in liver cells.
- Oleocanthal is a strong anti-inflammatory agent – it surpasses other anti-inflammatory gels in providing relief to osteoarhritic knees when applied topically.
- Strong anti-carcinogenic – protects against breast, prostate and colon cancers.
One extreme important fact that GPs fail to tell us, is that any chronic disease is reversible – not by beating the symptoms with drugs but by feeding the body with the correct nutrients to enable it to heal itself. EVOO goes a very long way to address the issues and makes our food taste delicious! Only virgin oils contain these amazing anti-oxidants, once and olive oil has been refined, all this natural goodness is stripped out of it.
Linda attended an international EVOO tasting panel leaders’ course in Imperia, Italy, and has presented tasting courses in SA, Australia and New Zeeland. She was the first member of the Savantes EVOO register in Australia and attended a Savantes refresher course in 2011. Linda attended a table olive panel leaders’ course in Madrid in 2014. She is a registered health and lifestyle coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
(Taken from: The Guide to Extra Virgin Olive Oil in South Africa, harvest 2016)