The olive oil is the base of Mediterranean diet, which is regarded to be the exemplar of correct and healthy diet and a factor of longevity.
The beneficial properties of olive oil are due to its chemical structure. Olive oil is a compound made of oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic and stearic acid, and a small amount of phytosteroles. The most important of these components for human health is the linoleic acid, the lack of which can cause a series of health disorders such as growth delay, metabolic disorders etc.
Olive oil contains 60-80% monounsaturated fatty acids which are much more resistant to oxidation processes in comparison to the polyunsaturated fatty acids of the seed oils.
It has been proved that monounsaturated fatty acids, and in particular the oleic acid, protect from coronary heart disease because they reduce the levels of low density lipoproteins or LDL (“bad cholesterol”), and at the same time they can increase the levels of HDL (“good cholesterol”) which protect the human body system from arteriosclerosis.
Olive oil is also a rich source of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K and especially vitamin E, which protect our health from several types of cancer (for example colon cancer and breast cancer) and osteoporosis. These vitamins together with the valuable polyphenols of olive oil can be found only in virgin olive oils because in the refined olive oils they are almost completely destroyed. In addition, due to its antioxidant action, olive oil delays cell aging, helps with digestion and calcium absorption and advances skin health.
Studies related to the beneficial properties of olive oil during child growth show that normal amounts of olive oil provide the perfect balanced intake of fatty acids for the natural calcification of the bones. It has also been suggested that low intake of lineloic acid may result in growth delay and cause skin, hepatic and metabolic disorders. In conclusion, it becomes obvious that olive oil, and especially organic olive oil deriving from biologically cultivated olive trees and therefore containing no traces of any chemical substance, forms an integral part of our children’s ideal diet.
Olive oil is preferably consumed raw, so that our body system can absorb all its nutritional substances. But even when frying, olive oil is considered the best oil because of its durability against high temperatures and oxidation.
It is beyond any doubt that olive oil protects human health. In November 2004 an FDA directive (Docket No 2003Q-0559) was published in CFSAN/Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements November 1, 2004, which suggests that 23gr. (two teaspoons) of olive oil protects from coronary diseases, especially if it contains a high percentage of monounsaturated acids. The Forest Preserve of Cook County Illinois suggests that the best salad olive oil is the yellow.