Characteristics and properties of a good extra virgin olive oil
Oleocanthal (Oleo = oil; canth = pungent; al = aldehyde) is a polyphenol present in extra virgin olive oil.
It is responsible for the pungent-spicy sensation felt in the back pharynx when taking certain oils.
The quantity present in an oil depends above all on the harvest period (it is present in greater quantities in oils obtained from early collections). This molecule has anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen (drug indicated for inflammatory diseases) with a mechanism of inhibition of cyclo-oxygenases 1 and 2, enzymes involved in the production of inflammation mediators (prostaglandins).
The ability of oleocanthal to prevent neurological damage in Alzheimer’s disease has recently been demonstrated, in fact it has the ability to modify neurotoxic proteins (tau) that damage the nerve structures of the brain and lead to intellectual and life deterioration of relationship in subjects affected by this pathology.
A “pinch” oil is therefore to be preferred for its biological actions, which are important in the control of inflammatory processes and in the prevention of neuronal damage.
All oils subjected to high and prolonged heating are altered; each oil has a smoke point beyond which it develops toxic substances (acrolein, toxic to the liver), extra virgin olive oil has proved to be ideal for frying because it has a high smoke point, resisting better processes thermal.
The digestibility of extra virgin olive oil is higher than all other oils (seeds, peanuts, sunflowers, etc.) because it stimulates the contraction of the gallbladder and therefore the production of bile, an important component for the digestion of lipids; moreover, its intense aroma and perfume induce a greater production of gastric juices, essential for digestive processes.
Extra virgin olive oil is the ideal fat because it does not contain cholesterol, is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (in particular oleic acid), contains a share of polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols, antioxidant substances capable of protecting LDL ( low density lipoprotein = low density lipoprotein) from oxidation, and therefore from the atherothrombotic process.
It is undoubtedly advisable to take a slice of bread with a drizzle of oil (1 tablespoon of good oil and pinch) as a snack, indeed, it is preferable to brioche, which instead contains saturated animal fats, those that increase cholesterol. .