What is the best olive oil on the
market? A survey in 2019 has
examined 30 brands of extra virgin
olive oil commonly sold at the Italian supermarket (organic and non-organic)
and has compiled an interesting list: 22
products passed the exam.
One of the most beneficial food
products for our health, olive oil, has quality often undermined by threats
such as the widespread use of insecticides in olive groves or the price war,
but constant monitoring allows us to purchase excellent products.
This is why; first, it is necessary
to be wary of low cost offers and rather to look at the cost per liter and the
– The European origin (can be indicated the State from which the product
arrives or, even more generically, Union) says that a member country produces
the olive oil. The indication of origin refers to the area in which the olives
were harvested and where the oil mill where the oil was extracted is located.
– The classification, the name, the producer, the volume and the expiry date are fundamental elements to take into consideration (the bottling date or the harvest year, on the other hand, are optional specifications).
RESULTS OF ANALYSIS
In the analyzes the chemical and
taste tests of the panel of tasters evaluated parameters such as:
• Acidity, which tends to increase especially if the olives from
which the oil was obtained were not in perfect condition
• Number of peroxides, i.e. the state of oxidation of the oil
• Spectrophotometric analysisin
the UV, which evaluates the absorption of ultraviolet rays and provides
useful information on the state of preservation of the oil
• Level of alkyl ethyl esters of fatty acids, to assess the quality
of the starting olives
• Organoleptic assessment, conducted by a panel of expert tasters to verify the conformity of the products to the characteristics of extra virgin olive oil
• Chemical analyzesconducted
and envisaged by European legislation to check that the extra virgin olive
oil has not been counterfeited, namely that is mixed with different oils or
refined olive oils.
The oils judged not to be high (“low quality”) are eight, due to the failure to pass the sensory test, even if the chemical analyzes, unlike the past tests, have excluded any type of fraud.
Once you buy a good oil, remember
that it must be stored correctly. Indeed, exposure to air, light and heat are
its enemies and olive oil is easily subject to oxidation.
We need to remember to:
• Store the oil in a cool, dry place, away from light and
• Prefer stainless steel (classic milk) or dark glass containers and to use
transparent oil bottles for the quotidian cooking
• Always close the bottle to prevent air contamination.
The Food and Drug Administration has
revised the definition of this food. It does so well in preventing and
combating a series of diseases that it must be considered as a drug. However, it must be taken and
kept according to precise rules.
It is in all the newspapers, that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the strict government agency that monitors the regulation of food and pharmaceutical products, which will be distributed on American soil, has revisited the definition of extra virgin olive oil as a health food with medicine.
Americans have not closed their eyes to the ever more numerous and solid scientific evidence of clinical efficacy of yellow gold or Mr. EVOO (as the Anglo-Saxon people kindly call it) in the prevention of lethal cardiovascular diseases and cognitive deficits typical of the elderly, in addition to than in reducing the risk of silent type II diabetes mellitus.
Perhaps not everyone knows that the
daily intake of extra virgin olive oil is useful to reduce the risk of breast
cancer thanks to its great anti-inflammatory and nutrigenomic properties. The
Americans did not need other evidence to proceed and, as often happens, they
preceded the legislators of the old Mediterranean continent, where the olive
oil was born, home of the first olive tree crops (Olea europaea).
Recently, in fact, extra virgin olive oil has been rediscovered as a soothing ointment for the protection of the skin, thanks to its squalene content, from which it originates the most stable squalene (a saturated terpene hydrocarbon) widely used by cosmetics modern, but that’s another story.
HOW TO TAKE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
The FDA claim establishes that it is
sufficient to ingest each day (and within a maximum of 12/18 months from the
date of bottling of the product), 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of extra virgin
olive oil (notoriously having an oleic acid content of between 70 and 80%), raw
and cold-worked, to guarantee our body the intake of
– At least 17.5 grams of oleic acid, an important
monounsaturated fatty acid from the omega 9 family,
– 4.5 milligrams of vitamin E, a known liposoluble
– 10 milligrams of effective polyphenols (including the oleocanthal,
tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol and oleacein), powerful modulators of expression of
epigenetic protective genes (which abound in specific olive varieties, such as
the Apulian Coratina and Ogliarola, the Tuscan Maurino and Moraiolo,
the Spanish Cornicabra and the California Mission).
Although the courage to innovate speaks American, the scientific evidence supporting innovation also speaks Italian. In 2016 a group of researchers from the Aldo Moro University of Bari demonstrated that the single intake, of 50 milliliters (44 grams) of Coratina extra virgin olive oil in the morning, promotes the expression of microRNA.
It is the smallest RNA in nature
that block the expression of specific genes, with anti-inflammatory
(miR-23b-3p) and anti-tumor (miR-519b-3p) action, while inhibiting microRNA expression
promotes the onset of insulin resistance (miR-107).
At the moment, the US recognition to
properties of the EVOO is based on its high content of oleic acid and it could
also happen to other vegetable oils, such as the cheapest sunflower oil (oleic
acid: 85-86%), obtained by extraction and chemical refining (which involves the
use of solvents), although without the precious polyphenols of extra virgin
olive oil, but more stable and resistant than Mr. EVOO at high temperatures (as
To those interested, it is good to
remember that 23 grams of extra virgin olive oil guarantee the contribution of
just over 200 calories.
Therefore, the EVOO should be the exclusive seasoning of a balanced and low-fat diet, such as the Mediterranean one or the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), to avoid an excessive intake of calories from fat.
Studies in support of the FDA
decision have been under the eyes of all for years and show that the
replacement in the diet of some saturated fatty acids, such as long-chain ones
(for example, palmitic acid and myristic acid), with right doses of oleic acid
and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids (for example, omega 3), strongly reduces
serum levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, among the main causes of
atherosclerosis. The effects on HDL cholesterol, however, are still to be
A MEDICINAL INSIDE A SALAD
Conclusively, just a little extra
virgin olive oil is needed, because a mixed salad can become a more nutritious
meal that also helps to preserve the line.
First we must remember that, with
the daily diet, it is necessary to absorb a bit of fat, to the extent of about
30% of our daily caloric requirement. So then, out of 2000 Kcal, 30 grams of
extra virgin olive oil represent the optimal intake, also by virtue of the
perfect relationship between saturated and unsaturated fats.
Considering the use of oil for the preparation of the evening meal, 10-15 grams of high quality extra virgin olive oil in the mixed salad for lunch is a good way to stay in shape without excessive sacrifice.
It happens because the high quality
extra virgin olive oil, by virtue of its perfumes, accentuates the sense of
satiety, thus reducing the hunger that can induce to stray into the diet. The
same contribution of extra virgin, according to a research by the Technische Universität of Munich in
collaboration with the University of Vienna, reduces the absorption of sugars
by the liver acting simultaneously on the blood sugar levels, helping to lower
it less rapidly and consequently making the sense of hunger less rapid. A
double beneficial effect important for the health and maintenance of the line,
so that the researchers, at the end of the experiment, have really recommended
the extra virgin for low calorie diets.
Not only that, oil is a carrier for
the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. The fat-soluble vitamins are those that
dissolve in fats (vitamins A, D, E and K).
Only vitamin D can be synthesized by our body with exposure to sunlight, while the others must be introduced with food. Vitamin A is found mainly in green leafy vegetables (along with C and K). Yellow-orange or dark green fruits and vegetables such as carrots, squash, broccoli, spinach, apricots, melon and papaya (which are rich in beta-carotene). Adequate amounts of vitamin E are present in olive oil and vegetable oils in general, wheat germ, whole grains, green leafy vegetables and nuts.
All this makes it clear how
important extra virgin olive oil is for the absorption of vitamins, which,
although present in salad vegetables, would not be absorbed by our intestines
without a bit of good fat: precisely the extra virgin olive oil olive.
How exactly does extra virgin olive
oil affect your body?
First, it keeps cholesterol levels in the blood at bay.
It therefore helps you to prevent heart attacks and strokes, as also
shown by a study published in 2011 in the journal Neurology, by the American
Society of Neurology.
The olive oil in fact is able to
increase a blood protein, the ApoA-IV, which prevents abnormal coagulation of the platelets, as researchers at Saint
Michael’s Hospital in Toronto discovered on September 2018.
Further, the EVOO is in fact an anti-aging food, rich in vitamin E and
other antioxidants that fight the formation of free radicals. Once digestion
begins, on the other hand, it reduces the secretion of gastric acids and therefore
the danger of ulcers.
What seems strange, after having
taken note of all its properties, is not so much that the oil has become a drug
food, but that before it was a victim of prejudices
and sales restrictions!!