What are the components of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
So what are the components of Extra Virgin Olive Oil? Extra virgin olive oil is made from of the juice of fresh, healthy olives. It is the highest quality and most expensive type of olive oil available. To produce extra virgin olive oil, the olives are picked from the trees, cleaned, and crushed into a paste. The paste is then pressed to extract the oil, which is then separated from any remaining water and solids.
The composition of extra virgin olive oil can vary depending on the variety of olives used, the climate and soil conditions of the region where they were grown, and the methods used to produce the oil. However, on average, extra virgin olive oil is made up of the following components:
Fatty acids: Extra virgin olive oil is primarily composed of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that makes up about 55-83% of the total fatty acids in the oil. Other fatty acids present in smaller amounts include linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid.
What is Oleic acid
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, which is commonly found in various vegetable and animal fats. It is one of the most abundant fatty acids in the human diet and is particularly high in olive oil, hence its name (oleic means “related to olive oil”).
Oleic acid is a liquid at room temperature and is considered to be a healthy fat because it has been shown to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. It can help to lower levels of LDL cholesterol (often referred to as “bad” cholesterol) while increasing levels of HDL cholesterol (often referred to as “good” cholesterol).
In addition to its potential health benefits for cholesterol, oleic acid has also been linked to anti-inflammatory effects and may have benefits for heart health, brain function, and cancer prevention.
Antioxidants: Extra virgin olive oil contains several antioxidants, including polyphenols and vitamin E. These antioxidants help to protect the oil from oxidation and extend its shelf life. They also have potential health benefits when consumed, such as reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of chronic diseases.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that can help prevent or slow down damage to cells caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals are produced naturally in the body during metabolism, but they can also be generated by external factors such as pollution, radiation, and cigarette smoke.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells and tissues by stealing electrons from other molecules, causing a chain reaction that can lead to cell damage and aging. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals, thus preventing or slowing down this chain reaction and reducing the damage they can cause.
There are several different types of antioxidants, including vitamins (such as vitamins C and E), minerals (such as selenium and zinc), and plant compounds (such as polyphenols and carotenoids). These antioxidants can be found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Research has suggested that consuming a diet rich in antioxidants may have several health benefits, such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it’s important to note that the research in this area is still ongoing, and it’s not yet clear how much of each antioxidant is needed to achieve these health benefits.
Other compounds: Extra virgin olive oil may also contain small amounts of other compounds, such as chlorophyll and carotenoids, which contribute to its color and flavor.
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