Throughout my exploration of the olive oil industry, I have had the opportunity to converse with chefs, restaurant proprietors, doctors and dietary specialists. From these discussions, I discovered that the Mediterranean diet is not only delicious but also very beneficial to our health. Extra virgin olive oil is an essential component of this diet due to its high levels of polyphenols, monounsaturated fats, and vitamins E, K, and A.
Olive oil’s composition and remarkable oxidative stability set it apart from other oils. Despite popular belief, its stability makes it an excellent option for frying. When harvested, produced, transported, and stored correctly, it maintains substantial amounts of potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances that provide fantastic stability and flavour.
Polyphenols in the Mediterranean Diet
There are certain substances, usually referred to as polyphenols, that effectively oppose the damage of free radicals. Free radicals act like rain, a constant bombardment of noxious substances damaging the walls of our cells, gradually resulting in their death.
Olive oil in the Mediterranean diet and other foods are part of overall healthy eating habits. Olive oil is rich in polyphenols which have a very specific role in fighting free radicals and slowing down the aging of cells. It slows all processes which may result in the death of cells and the growth of cancer cells.
Olive Oil Health Benefits
I have observed a trend in the industry that highlights the health benefits of olive oil, making it appear akin to natural medicine. After conversing with professionals in the fields of health and nutrition, I concur that the substances present in high-quality extra virgin olive oil are indeed beneficial for our health. Experts assert that polyphenols are the most potent natural antioxidants known to exist.
However, as an expert olive oil taster, I recognize the significance of the hedonistic aspect. Recognizing the positive tasting attributes of an oil is the best way to appreciate it when used in our meals. Viewing olive oil as an exceptionally delicious food first and then one that is also good for our health is a practical approach. I think it is crucial to always have a bottle of extra virgin olive oil on the table, both for culinary and health reasons.
Watch the first four chapters of the series: