Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Properties and Benefits

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The first plantations of olive trees took place about 6.000 years before the coming of Christ, and exactly in Palestine and Syria; only in 1000 B.C., the olive tree was imported into Italy.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Properties and Benefits

Olive oil, unlike all the other oils that are obtained from seeds, is the only one that is obtained from the fruit of the plant. The olive oil is practically a fat in the liquid state at room temperature.

The extra virgin olive oil is obtained by mechanical pressing of the olives excluding any industrial process. To obtain the designation of extra virgin olive oil, as well as being pulled in a exclusively mechanical method, the oil must not be subject to any form of heating, its degree of acidity must not exceed 0.8 %.

Its score from an organoleptic point of view should not be less than 6.5. All oils that do not meet these characteristics are marketed under other names.

Chemical Composition

The extra virgin olive oil can be divided into two groups: the saponifiable, represents approximately 99 % and is constituted by triglycerides. Unsaponifiables, represents about 1 % and consists of various vitamins and antioxidants. These antioxidants have beneficial properties very important for the health of our body that we will see later.

Other substances present in virgin olive oil are: hydrocarbons, waxes, alcohols, sterols, polyphenols, and colored pigments. About 85 % of the fatty acids found in extra virgin olive oil is represented by unsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid and linoleic acid.

Properties and Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fundamental food of the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil is now considered a key element in the treatment and prevention of various diseases. According to several studies, carried out on several occasions, have been demonstrated several beneficial properties of virgin olive oil: its habitual use reduces the presence of LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase the percentage of “good”.

Decreases by about 30 % the chance of heart attacks and lowers blood pressure. The polyphenols and vitamin E in extra virgin olive oil, due to their antioxidant, helping to prevent arteriosclerosis and slow down the aging of cells.

As reported by several studies, data exist that link the use of extra virgin olive oil with a reduction of certain types of cancer, primarily as breast cancer. In addition, the disease-specific mortality is higher in northern European countries than in the countries of the Mediterranean area.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The extra virgin olive oil is an extremely healthy and genuine food , with a high digestibility that helps the liver, at the same time regulating gastric function and and at the same time decreasing the risk of developing duodenal ulcer.

The extra virgin olive oil differs from other oils because it stands very high temperatures more than others. It’is  absolutely the most suitable for frying, keeping intact its properties without deterioration, resisting temperatures up to 180 °.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Properties and Benefits

The sensation of tingling in the throat that you feel while tasting the extra virgin olive oil is symptomatic of a touch more health. In fact, this feeling depends on a anti-inflammatory substance, discovered recently, and called oleocantale. This substance has the same effects of a substance called analgesic ibuprofen, which also seems to have anticancer effects.

A couple of teaspoons in the morning, on an empty stomach, can solve the problems of those who are afflicted with chronic constipation.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Italian Law

Article. 35 of Reg. EC 1513/2001 of July 2001 describes what are the parameters and definitions that relate to the various types of oils obtained from olives.

The extra virgin olive oil is the oil obtained from olives exclusively by mechanical or physical processes with the use of heat to facilitate the extraction but in a quantity that does not change the properties of the oil itself. In addition to the process of washing, decantation, centrifugation and filtration the olives do not undergo any other treatment. The extra virgin olive oil can therefore be considered in all respects a real fruit juice with all the advantages and the benefits they bring to our health.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows that all other oils (from olive oil to the various seed oils), derive from refining processes through the use of chemical solvents that occur in real industrial refineries and not in oil mills as is the case for extra virgin olive oil.

Unfortunately, all this is not advertised in the media and the law allows an oil produced through the use of processes and chemicals, is sold under the name of olive oil; obviously all this at the expense of the unaware consumer.


We often hear voices that suppose that the extra virgin olive oil is generally more fat than other oils; this is completely false. In fact, all types of oil are made up at 99 % with fats and therefore their intake of calories is the same for everyone.

Another fairly widespread rumor is that which supports the “heaviness” of extra virgin olive oil, but fortunately the studies have shown the opposite, namely that the extra virgin olive oil has a high digestibility. Probably this preconception arises from the fact that the extra virgin olive oil is very tasty and aromatic, in spite of other processed with solvents and deprived of smell, so as to give a feeling of lightness, but it’s just a feeling.

The IGP and DOP Brand

The abbreviation DOP means Denomination of Protected Origin and indicates a product that is closely linked to the production area and ensure the origin; this brand guarantees that all production processes have been carried out in the area of origin. Unlike the DOP, the IGP, however, indicates that at least one of the phases occurred in the place of origin.


Polyphenols are a very important substance for the purpose of preservation of the oil itself, because they have antioxidant properties. Their presence prevents processes of rancidity of the oil and thus guarantee stability. At the same time give the oil a fruity smell and a bitter taste slightly itchy. Numerous studies have shown the properties and benefits of these substances on the human organism.

Extra virgin olive oil: properties and benefits

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