THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
To paraphrase the words of a well-known musical “aggiungi un posto a tavola che c’è un amico in più…” “set another place at the table and you have another friend …” you can think of extra virgin olive oil as a “friend” to be included in the daily diet as a “functional” food.
The Italian Ministry of Health has identified extra virgin olive oil as a food that can have a beneficial effect on several aspects of our health and/or reduce the risk of disease. The current interest in the Mediterranean diet, in which the main source of fat is extra virgin olive oil, began thanks to Professor Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota, USA. Professor Keys conducted a “Seven Countries Study”, comparing the eating habits of seven nations in the world, and then published the book “Eat well to stay well, the Mediterranean way to wellbeing” in the 1970s.
Thanks to its biological composition, extra virgin olive oil has many nutritional qualities that make it an essential food for all ages. To understand how useful it is in maintaining good health just consider that the chemical composition of fats in extra virgin olive oil are similar to those of breast milk.
In appropriate quantities, oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that accounts for 65-80% of the total fatty acids in olive oil, decreases levels of LDL (the so-called “bad cholesterol”) in the blood and increases or leaves unchanged the levels of HDL (“good cholesterol”).
Antioxidants and vitamins (tocopherols, carotenoids and phenolic compounds) reduce the accumulation of free radicals, a principal factor of age related cell damage.
The regular use of extra virgin olive oil in a balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, can help to prevent coronary heart disease and cardiovascular problems linked to atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, digestive diseases and the formation of cancerous cells.
Discover extra virgin olive oil as valuable aid to health and a great way to take care of yourself.