How good is extra virgin olive oil?

dieta mediterranea

In this article we tell you how good extra virgin olive oil is for the human body of any age.
Let’s start by saying that the benefits we are going to talk about are not valid for any oil and not even for any EVO oil.
The characteristics of extra virgin oils are common but it is the presence of each of them and their quantity that make the difference (see How to read the chemical analysis of EVO oil).

EVO oil is nutraceutical

Nutraceuticals perform the specific function of improving the state of health and preventing the risk of disease.
The intake of food or nutraceutical supplements helps to improve the health of the body and above all helps to prevent the onset of particular diseases.
The properties of EVO oil that we will show you below include it fully among the nutraceutical products so much so that someone comes to say that EVO oil should be sold in pharmacies!
We do not expect much, on the contrary it would also be counterproductive as it would be generically insured to the “medicines” losing all the charm of the “home” food that everyone uses daily, but it is useful to emphasize once more its importance in the diet that goes well as well as “the good flavor that gives the salad”.

For all ages, even for babies

Extra virgin olive oil is the only condiment that is included in the weaning of infants because it contains essential polyunsaturated fats w6 and w3 in the correct ratio to each other, similar to what happens in breast milk.
It is the fat best tolerated by their digestive system which is still underdeveloped, it preserves the intestinal mucous membranes and reduces gastric acidity.
It is very useful for counteracting constipation as it is an excellent regulator of intestinal activities.
Promotes body growth, bone formation and the development of the nervous system during childhood.
It stimulates brain functions, the development of neuro-psycho-motor actions and the structuring of the retina, thanks to the high content of Omega-3.


Olive oil, unlike that of seeds, for example, is rich in MONOUNSATURATED fatty acids.
These include oleic acid capable of regulating cholesterol levels (it reduces the level of LDL cholesterol, “bad”, compared to the level of HDL cholesterol, “good”).
Oleic acid prevents arterial lesions and reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, thrombosis and coronary heart disease in general.

Against diabetes

Extra virgin olive oil is able to regulate blood sugar by controlling the secretion of insulin by the pancreas but also by regulating the sensitivity of cells to the action of insulin itself.

In this way, olive oil assumes fundamental importance in the prevention of diabetes.

Polyphenols and Vitamin E

To distinguish extra virgin oils from other oils is also the content of polyphenols, very particular antioxidants.
Why are they present in such large numbers in EVO oil?
Normally in other fruits (hazelnut, soy, sunflower, …) the oil is accumulated in the seed, the olive instead is an exception by concentrating the fats on the outside, in the pulp.
This exposes the fats to an unfavorable environment in contact with water and enzymes that cause their degradation.
And it is precisely in this situation that Polyphenols come into play, very powerful antioxidants that protect the olive fats.
Thus polyphenols also become important for our health: they protect the integrity of cell membranes, guaranteeing a defense against the formation and development of many types of tumors, and it seems they are also able to counteract memory loss, alteration of other cognitive functions linked to aging and reduces the risk of contracting neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Polyphenols are responsible for the bitter and spicy taste, so if these two flavor notes are found in an oil, it means that the polyphenols are present.
Only high quality oils containing at least 250 mg per kilo of polyphenols can boast the presence of polyphenols on the label.
But there are some oils that contain many more, and they are real health elixirs (Casa Julia oil recorded 559 mg / kg of polyphenols in the analyzes, ed.)

Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant and is present in large quantities in EVO oil.
This means that the vitamin E present in extra virgin olive oil is not only sufficient to protect fat from the formation of free radicals, but is even in excess and “bioavailable” to carry out its precious vitamin activity.

Squalene against skin cancers

Squalene, a substance that abounds in olive oil (even more so in the shark’s liver, hence the name) would be effective in fighting skin cancers.
In Italy and Greece, where the consumption of extra virgin olive oil is particularly high, life expectancy is higher than in Northern European countries, where people tend to consume more fats of animal origin.
All this despite the intense sun exposure of the two Mediterranean countries and a greater presence of smokers than in northern Europe.

How much EVO oil per day?

In general, 3 – 4 tablespoons a day are recommended, ie about 30/40 grams raw.
Remember, however, that EVO oil is also good for frying thanks to the quantity of monounsaturated fats and its high “smoke point” (the temperature at which heating a certain oil will start to produce smoke continuously).

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Veronesi Foundation

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