As has been demonstrated by many researchers, it is not the quantity of fats but the quality that makes the difference. That is why olive oil has become the principal fat of the Mediterranean diet. The fats that it furnishes have a beneficial effect on the organism because they reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Olive oil is the only nutritional fat that is completely extracted from fruit; its origin gives it, in fact, its particular health and gastronomic characteristics. Olive oil, and in particular the extra-virgin variety, is composed for the most part of a fat molecule containing a high percentage of oleic acid. It also presents a good monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio. Given these biochemical characteristics, the following can be said about olive oil:
- It is easy to digest;
- It inhibits gastric acid secretion in the stomach;
- It stimulates secretion by the pancreas;
- It promotes absorption of calcium and the growth of long bones.
Finally, the compounds called polyphenols present in olive oil have a marked antioxidant quality: in other words, they counteract the oxidative stress due to free radicals which cause aging and a variety of diseases. That is what gives olive oil its anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis. (www.fondazionedietamediterranea.it)