Healthy aspects of extra-virgin olive oil

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Polyphenols are organic compounds of plant origin, known above all for their antioxidant properties and for "giving color" to different types of fruit, the latter being also essential for the spread of the seed by fruit-bearing animals. Polyphenols have the primary function of protecting plants from external pathogens and UV rays. This feature also allows the preservation of the organoleptic properties of foods derived from the plants themselves. In olive oil polyphenols are secondary compounds of the tissues, with antioxidant activity and protection from external stress.
Polyphenols:
- they are present in the pulp in quantities of 1-2%.
- they contribute significantly to the stability of virgin olive oils, in terms of resistance to both autoxidation and thermoxidation.
- They have anti-allergic and antiviral anti-inflammatory properties
- They contribute to the characteristic smell and taste of extra virgin olive oil and have antioxidant properties
The ability of phenolic compounds to improve the shelf life of oils is largely due to the fact that these molecules can behave as radical scavengers and, as such, stop or inhibit the oxidative phenomena of fatty acids, thus slowing the consequent phenomenon of rancidity in the formation peroxides. The strong character of scavengers of radicals makes the molecules of phenolic compounds capable of slowing down the phenomena of rancidity of the oil, but also of exerting a good anti-aging effect on humans, thus making them attractive to the cosmetic products industry.
Phenolic compounds are responsible for the extraordinary organoleptic qualities of extra virgin olive oil: OLEUROPEINE and its derivatives give the oil a BITTER character LIGSTROSIDE and its derivatives give the oil its SPICY character

The polyphenols in olive oil contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.

This is the functional health claim on olive oil polyphenols. It is applied to those products that ensure a concentration of 5 mg of bioactive phenols in 20 g of olive oil.

All cultivars, if grown with the right agronomic practices, harvested with the appropriate ripeness index, suitably processed, choosing the most suitable pressing technique for each type, times and temperatures suitable for kneading, can guarantee oils rich in polyphenols well more than the minimum limits necessary for the use of claims.

The health aspects of EVO OIL in antiquity

Hippocrates (460-377 BCE) recommended the juice of fresh olives to cure mental illnesses and packs of macerated olives to heal ulcers

Pliny the Elder (24-79 AD) stated that "two are the liquids most pleasing to the human body: inside the wine, outside the oil". The oil was also used to fight fevers, as an antidote to some poisons, as anthelmintic, emollient and laxative.

In the Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance, olive oil was also used to treat gynecological infections. Oil was recognized for its properties in the treatment of heart disease, fever, and as a hypotensive, antidiabetic and diuretic.

Until the end of the nineteenth century, olive oil was also used to treat otitis and as a mild purgative and, until a few years ago, the elderly farmers used it to massage stunted children, to sprinkle the gums affected by pyorrhea, for the neurites, for distortions, to extract the thorns from under the skin, to cure a stomach ache, to soften the bumps of the feet and, with revulsive herbs, for hair loss.

What is a Functional Food?

The concept of functional foods originated in Japan when, in the 1980s, the authorities of this country recognized that:

• The increase in life expectancy of a growing number of elderly people• Improve the quality of nutrition in order to control health costs.

• The concept of foods specifically developed to promote health or reduce the risk of disease was introduced.

"Functional foods are defined as foods created and processed so as to express the functions related to the organism's defense mechanisms and to the prevention and treatment of diseases, and must meet the following conditions:

• Be formed from ingredients or compositions of conventional ingredients and be consumed as food is conventionally consumed;

• Be consumed as part of the basic diet;

• Be labeled as having body control functions

• There must be no significant loss of nutritional constituents of the food compared to those contained in similar foods;

• The food must belong to a type consumed daily in the diet, rather than taken occasionally;

• The product must be in the form of a food and not in other forms such as pills and / or capsules

• The food and its constituents must not be those used exclusively as drugs.

The main aspects of a functional food:

• The nature of functional foods - not pills, capsules or any form of supplements but conventional foods

• The scientific demonstration of the effects and therefore the validity of the health value that they claim

• The beneficial effect on a bodily function, in addition to the nutritional effect, relevant for an improvement in the state of health and well-being including physical and psychological performance and risk reduction (not prevention) of diseases

• Consumption as part of a normal diet

High phenolic Extra virgin olive oil is a FUNCTIONAL FOOD. According to reg. EU n. 432/2012 EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has stated that Olive Oil certified with Health Claim, has its beneficial effect with a daily consumption of 20 g, a table spoon.