The decrease in the consumption of olive oil is related to the drop in quality products in every field of society and culture. We buy less, but it is not a question of price, it is a question of taste for healthy lifestyle. It is linked to the fact that half of all Spanish people do no exercise, are overweight, sleep little and consume not much fruit, vegetables and legumes.
In Spain we produce the five best olive oils in the world. There are rumors and prejudices recommendations such as the use of a spray to spread the oil in salads or that the oil is fattening, among other nonsense that overwhelms us. Olive juice is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, that improves the bones’ mineralization, is a blood pressure regulator, reduces cholesterol, is a provitamin and is anti-aging.
Its Oleic acid prevents cardiovascular disease by reducing the body’s total cholesterol, as it helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while preserving good cholesterol (HDL). It has sterols that compete with the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine, which is why it lowers blood cholesterol. It also helps to maintain low blood pressure, alleviating the effects of arthritis through its anti-inflammatory power. Due to the oleocanthal as well as terpene alcohols increases the excretion of bile acids, resulting in the elimination of cholesterol in the feces. It is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), similar to ibuprofen, paracetamol or diclofenac, although natural and without side effects, with anti-cancer properties because some cancers need an inflammatory substrate. For the same property is antidiabetic and helps to lose weight in obesity, which also has this inflammatory substrate.
Its phytosterols compete with the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine and lower elevated triglycerides. Its tocopherols improve the cardiovascular flow, protecting the heart, and also the blood circulation, avoiding the formation of clots. Another cardioprotective and prebiotic component is hydroxythyresol. According to a study by the University of Navarra, carried out with 187 volunteers and published in the journal Atherosclerosis: “A Mediterranean diet enriched with virgin olive oil and nuts can reverse arteriosclerosis in the carotid arteries in one year”.
In the continuous process of construction and cell renewal, dietary fats play a fundamental role, as they provide the components for the construction of the cell membrane and the mitochondrial membranes, the power stations of our cells. Depending on the type of fats present in the diet, the construction of these membranes is carried out with different structures, so that there are fats that give rise to membranes resistant to oxidative stress caused by free radicals and others that make them vulnerable to it. Olive oil provides in its fatty acids the ideal components for the construction of a more efficient cell membrane in its vital dynamics and more resistant to oxidation, while the consumption of other types of fats, produce more fragile membranes and prone to oxidation.
It contributes to reduce blood glucose and triglyceride levels. There also seems to be a positive relationship between oil consumption and decrease in cancers.
The oil protects us from aging
The oil’s antioxidants are combined with the necessary proportion of co-factor minerals that allow the antioxidant action such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc. Minerals all present in seasoned olives. This makes it necessary to improve osteoporosis, from the middle age of life. It contains vitamins A and E that contribute to improve the skin’s appearance and smoothness. In addition, vitamin E stabilizes and regulates the production of female hormones, so its consumption is beneficial for the reproductive organs, facilitates pregnancy and childbirth.
José Antonio Rodríguez Piedrabuena
Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. Specialist in management training, group and couple therapies.