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Health with olive oil

For its growth, development and good functioning, the human body needs fat, also called lipids. The functions they perform are very broad, ranging from the constitution of cells to the proper functioning of liver and kidneys. Fats give elasticity and maintain hydration of the skin. They also carry numerous vitamins essential for the body. Olive oil is composed of:

A) Glycerides (mainly triglycerides). They are esters of glycerine and fatty acids, and constitute the saponifiable fraction of the oil (fraction that can be converted into soap). Fatty acids are the components of dietary fats, and can be divided into saturated fatty acids (called so because their molecules are saturated with hydrogen atoms) and unsaturated fatty acids (whose molecules are not saturated with hydrogen and form one or more bonds double). Among the latter we distinguish monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

 

B) Other components soluble in oil but which constitute the so-called unsaponifiable fraction (which can not be transformed into soap).

-Hydrocarbons: the most important is squalene.

-Esterols: the most important is beta-sisterol, not finding cholesterol.

- Tocopherols: the main one is alpha-tocopherol, which is vitamin E, with great antioxidant power.

- Triterpenic alcohols and aliphatic alcohols: they are mainly found in pomace oils.

- Volatile substances: responsible for the aroma of oils.

 

C) Polyphenols: are water soluble components that have an important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

Since "we age because we oxidize," the antioxidant content of olive oil protects the body's unsaturated fats from the oxidation process, preventing different types of cancer.

The spicy taste of extra virgin oils is related to the anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenols.

 

D) Metal traces: they are in quantities so small that they are only detected by atomic absorption. It is about

Of metals such as iron or copper. The difference between the seed oils and the virgin olive oil is that, in order to obtain this, it is sufficient to grind and press the olives, to obtain seed oil, it is necessary to grind and heat the seeds up to 180ºC, to press the paste and to refine the Oil obtained by organic solvents.

As a result of these unnatural processes (overheating and use of solvents) the seed oils contain an excessive amount for the organism of polyunsaturated acids, easily oxidizable to form peroxides, which are carcinogenic. In addition, in the process lose much of the nutritional components that could originally have the seeds.

Contrary to what advertising wants us to create, all oils are made of fat, so there are no more or less fatty oils. The calories are the same, what varies are the nutritional qualities and antioxidant properties, which are clearly superior in olive oil.

In this graph we compare the percentage of fatty acids existing in different vegetable oils:

Fatty acids in oils

SATURATED FATTY ACIDS:

They function only as a source of energy and are little needed in the diet because the body can synthesize them by itself. Its high consumption is related to the formation of plaques of cholesterol in the arteries (arteriosclerosis), because they favor the increase of the levels of "bad" cholesterol.

MONOUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS

Its main function is to form part of the membrane of all the cells of the body. Their consumption is necessary, since the body can not synthesize them. They have a protective effect against atherosclerosis because they dilute the saturated fatty acids.

POLYUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS

They intervene in the reduction of "bad" cholesterol and in processes of inflammation and coagulation, although in excess they can be harmful.

The extra virgin olive oil contains the proportion of fatty acids that best fits the needs of the human body.

In addition, oleic acid is the most easily digested.

 

 


 

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