NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
In Ancient Greece, Homer used to call it "liquid gold". Also, Hippocrates was a great supporter of its beneficial properties. So why is olive oil considered to be so valuable? Which are the reasons for its well-reputed, high nutritional value?
Speaking of nutritional value of extra virgin olive oil, one needs to make reference to its content of monounsaturated fat, antioxidants and vitamin E.
Monounsaturated fatty acids
Primarily, the beneficial value of extra virgin olive oil is due to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (fats). Those types of fat have been associated with good health of the heart. This is because one of their key features is that they reduce "bad" cholesterol (LDL) while slightly increasing the "good" cholesterol (HDL). Also, they have been found to be protective against diabetes, because it has been shown that they improve the level of blood sugar, unlike other forms of fat such as saturated and polyunsaturated.
However, due to the fact that fats are high in calories, it is important to pay attention to the amount of fat and therefore olive oil that we consume. Monounsaturated fats should make up 15% of the calories that you need on a daily basis. Therefore, if a person consumes 2000Kcal daily, the 300Kcal should come from monounsaturated fats, or in other words, approximately 33gr (about 2-3tbsp of olive oil).
The major antioxidants in olive oil are called “polyphenols”. Antioxidants protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer, improve eyesight and help avoid a wide range of allergies. Furthermore, these substances protect the quality of olive oil, positively affecting its aroma and flavour while acting against oxidation.
Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent source of vitamin E, a vitamin known for its action as antioxidant. Vitamin E is strongly related to the good health of peoples’ heart, its action against many cancers, the prevention of premature aging and the protection against degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer.