A Real Mediterranean Diet – Why You Should Include Olive Oil Part of Your Diet

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Olive oil is a major factor in heart health prevention

While the longevity and health of the Mediterranean people are attributed to the authenticity of a Mediterranean diet rich in plant food and less containing animal products, what has truly been the basis of this diet is the extensive use of olive oil and olives, the main source of fat, and the basis for the cuisine of the Mediterranean culinary tradition.

Since the beginning of time, olive oil has proven to be a significant contributor to the low incidence of heart disease in Mediterranean populations. Numerous studies have shown that olive oil not just will prevent damage to arteries, but can also reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood, and decrease blood pressure, which is an important risk factor for strokes.

In research conducted by Montoya and coworkers, participants followed four kinds of diets over five weeks The first diet was high in saturated fats, another that was rich in polyunsaturated fat (sunflower oil) as well as one that contained monounsaturated fat (extra virgin olive oil) as well as the last one that was rich in omega-3 fats from fish. The study found that when people followed a diet high in extra-virgin olive oil their bad cholesterol levels dropped and blood pressure dropped by 5 to 6 percent.1

We are aware that extra virgin olive oil is a valuable source of fat that is beneficial to the heart as the primary fat found from olive oils is monounsaturated. the fat that doesn’t become stuck within the blood vessels. We also are aware of the fact that olive oil in all forms contains approximately the same amount of monounsaturated fat. So, why would you want to buy extra-virgin olive oil if it’s much more costly than olive oil refined? Two reasons to consider:

1. Refined olive oils are brimming with chemicals

Many thousands of years ago the olives were crushed manually in stone basins that were spherical; Today, using the same technique the olives (with pits) are crushed and pounded using mechanical methods. The oil extracted in such an approach (cold) is known as extra-virgin olive oil, which is the natural juice of the olives. It keeps the unique taste, aroma, and health benefits of the fruit.

The residue of solids that remains after the extraction process is then returned to the press for it to be again beaten and exposed to different temperatures and chemical processes. It is neutralized using sodium hydroxide, filtered through charcoal filters, and extracted using hexane, at low temperatures. The oil that is resulting lacks flavor and color, and has lost the majority of the anti-oxidant properties. The reason for this is that extracts from second sources are not advised to consume. Over time, the consumption of oil that has been exposed to chemical agents can cause harm to our bodies.

2. Olive oil that is an extra virgin is a source of more antioxidants than its refined counterparts.

Numerous studies carried out to investigate the actions of the small compounds found that are found in olive oils have shown that they are powerful antioxidants as well as powerful antioxidants that can scavenge free radicals. Free radicals are extremely unstable and destructive substances that expose the cells of our body to stress oxidative. They cause which causes constant damage, eventually killing the cells. When radicals destroy or kill enough cells within an organism, it becomes old and ends up dying. The antioxidants present in olive oil are present in greater quantities of extra-virgin olive oils than refined oils. Let’s examine some of them.

Vitamin E (tocopherol): Olive oil is a rich source of alpha-tocopherol, also known as vitamin E, the tocopherol has the highest level of natural antioxidant and is one of the most potent defenders of the oxidation that occurs in cell membranes. Evidence shows that people who have low levels of vitamin E in the blood suffer more damage to the arteries than those who have a sufficient amount.1 In general levels of vitamin E contained in the oil is around 24-43 milligrams in 100 grams of oil.2 One tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil has 1.6 milligrams (2.3 IU [International Units]) of vitamin E, which is equivalent to eight to fifteen percent of your daily dose.

Polyphenols: tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol. Numerous studies have shown that polyphenols can be potent antioxidants as well as inhibitors against free radical “attacks.” Tyrosol is very robust and can stop the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.3 Hydroxytyrosol can be a potent trash picker of free radicals. It also can prolong the shelf life of the oil, thereby reducing the process of auto-oxidation.4 Based on research, 5 in general, these chemicals in olive oil are responsible for the following amounts:

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 4.2 milligrams per 100g
  2. Olive oil refined: 0.47 milligrams for each 100 grams

As you can see, there is a significant difference in the amount of money that is found in the addition

Olive oil from the virgin and refined.

o Hydrocarbons: squalene. The most significant hydrocarbon present in olive oil is squalene. It’s another potent antioxidant. A study6 has shown that the daily consumption of squalene is around 30 milligrams a day in the United States. The consumption in Mediterranean countries could be between 200 and 400 milligrams daily. The amount of squalene that is found in olive oil is according to:

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 400-450 milligrams for 100 grams
  2. Refined olive oil 25 percent lower than olive oil extra virgin6


Extra virgin olive oil might be a bit more costly however, over the long term, you can save a significant amount of money and lots of pain. We should follow a true Mediterranean Diet with olive oil and, more specifically, Extra virgin olive oil as one of its components.