L'olio del Palazzo
Our olive groves, which we have always cultivated with care and wisdom handed down over the years, are surrounded by the gentle hills of Marche at a height of 250 meters above sea level. The sea breeze coddles their leafy branches, mitigating the cold winter season. This mild and sunny microclimate, allows to obtain a very high quality oil. As soon as they are harvested, the olives are transported to the mill and rigorously cold-pressed with a continuous two-stage phases cycle which, thanks to a reduced production of vegetation water, allows to obtain an olive oil rich in polyphenols and natural antioxidants which provide multiple and important health benefits. The oil has a good fruity taste, with hints of almonds, mainly sweet with pleasant bitter and spicy notes.
The Extra virgin olive oil: a natural panacea.:
The Extra virgin olive oil, also known as EVO, is a vegetable fat obtained from the fruits of the Olea Europeae L., belonging to the family of Oleaceae. It differs from olive oil because it is obtained by pressing healthy olives, whose processing is done only with cold mechanical supports without the addition of chemical additives. Not all the olives are the same, in Italy alone there are more than 500 varieties, each of which is unique and different form the other, giving the oil a characteristic flavour. 100 grams of extra virgin oil provide about 900 calories in the form of lipids. It is a very high caloric product, but by analyzing it specifically we can understand why it is also known as "liquid gold". In fact, more than the 70% of these lipids are monounsaturated fats, and therefore good fats. Among those there are: omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 which are very important for our health. It also contains vitamins (A and E), mineral salts (sodium and potassium) and other minerals such as iron, zinc, copper and selenium. Most important, it is rich in polyphenols, natural antioxidants, which give it specific nutraceutical and organoleptic properties. Polyphenols have a bitter and spicy flavour, so if you taste these two notes of flavours it means that oil is rich polyphenols. Therefore, Extra virgin olive oil is a powerful antioxidant and antibacterial that helps prevent various health problems, from cardiovascular ones to those related to cholesterol, liver, and glucose and insulin response.
Moreover, many scientific studies confirm positive correlations and interactions between the Mediterranean Diet and its content of EVO oil, and the reduction of neoplasms risk. It helps regularize the intestinal transit and, if applied to the skin as emollient, it can also be effective in case of dermatitis.
As we have seen, oil has many beneficial properties, but in order to preserve them from alteration over time, the oil must be stored away from light, therefore in well-closed dark bottles and in dry places away from heat sources or low temperatures such as those of the refrigerator. All this to avoid the destabilization of its chemical composition, and, as a consequence, of its flavour. In addition, in order to benefit from all its beneficial properties, it is recommended to consume it preferably raw. In fact, high temperatures, including those of home cooking, may reduce polyphenols by 50%, so be careful while cooking it in a pan.
How much oil should we consume per day? The recommended oil consumption for a healthy adult individual is about 40 grams per day, which corresponds to 3-4 spoons, and a little less for those who are on a low calories diet.
The oil is therefore a really incredible product. That is why it is recommended to consume a 100% Italian EVO oil. It could be slightly more expensive than other European oils, but it is far safer and controlled, and since it has many beneficial properties, it is certainly worth the price.
Some interesting readings:
- Hoffmann G, et al. 2016. Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil reduces the incidence of invasive breast cancer in a randomised controlled trial. Evid Based Med. 21(2):72. doi: 10.1136/ebmed-2015-110366.
- Jurado-Ruiz E, et al. 2019. Extra virgin olive oil diet intervention improves insulin resistance and islet performance in diet-induced diabetes in mice. Sci Rep. 5;9(1):11311. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47904-z.
- Serreli G, Deiana M. 2020. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Polyphenols: Modulation of Cellular Pathways Related to Oxidant Species and Inflammation in Aging. Cells. 19;9(2):478. doi: 10.3390/cells9020478.
- Emma MR, et al. 2021. Potential Uses of Olive Oil Secoiridoids for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer: A Narrative Review of Preclinical Studies. Int J Mol Sci. 27;22(3):1234. doi: 10.3390/ijms22031234
Dr.Stefania Bertoncini – Biologist Nutrinionist