Its use is recommended because of the presence of oleic acid, polyphenols and vitamin E.

It took more than five years for the European Union eventually to agree on the official list of beneficial properties attributed to food. And it is the European program for the promotion of olive oils - particularly concerned - that announces the new regulations (different than on the reduction of disease risk and health development of children). But it was not until 14 December 2012 for commercial communications (promotions, advertising or the same product labels) may mention the properties of these foods.
A daily dose of 20 grams

The first of the health claims that can use olive oil producers for the presence of polyphenols, which "contribute to the protection of blood lipids deal with oxidative damage." In other words, these substances have very important antioxidant properties to fight against the formation of free radicals in excess. Or they promote cell aging. In addition, polyphenols protect against many diseases. The beneficial effects are obtained from a daily dose of 20 grams. However, the Regulation establishes that only the olive oils that contain a minimum of 5 milligrams to 20 grams can make use of this claim. The European promotion program cites as an example oils virgin olive oil extracted from the widest variety in the world, picual, which contains more than 9 milligrams per 20 grams.

The second health claim is about vitamin E, which "helps protect cells deal with oxidative damage." The virgin olive oil from the picual variety, taken again as an example, in contains about 30 mg per 100 milliliters. Apart from this, the main sources of vitamin E are sunflower, corn and grape seed, hazelnuts and almonds, wheat germ and fatty fish. A tablespoon of these oils (about 15 ml), or a small handful of nuts or almonds, covers half the daily requirement of an adult.
More "good" cholesterol

Finally, it is now accepted that "the substitution of saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet helps to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels." Oleic acid is the most common of monounsaturated fatty acids. It lowers total cholesterol levels in the blood and increases the "good" cholesterol. This is one of the fundamental components of olive oils. But beware, do not forget that oil - including olive - is a fat and therefore high in calories. Although its consumption is better than other fats, they still brings nearly 90 kilocalories for only 10 grams, which is not negligible in the context of a regime to lose weight!

Olive oil and cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular atherosclerotic diseases are the leading cause of death in industrialized countries. Many studies have highlighted the close link between atherosclerosis and eating habits, lifestyle and some aspects of economic development. The progression of atherosclerosis depends on many factors, but the most important are the increase in the cholesterol level in blood, hypertension, diabetes and smoking.

"... It is in countries where the population consumes almost as only dietary fat olive oil that coronary mortality is the lowest in the world"

Professor Francisco Grande Covián

WHAT atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is the formation of cholesterol rich plaque (atheromatous plaques) on the inner wall of arteries, preventing the flow of blood in the tissue and interfere with the proper functioning of vital organs, particularly the heart and brain .


When the arteries of the heart (coronary) are assigned, the subject can suffer from angina or myocardial infarction. Sudden death risks increase. When the process affects the arteries of the brain (carotid especially), the subject may be suffering from cerebral thrombosis, the consequences are the occurrence of stroke (hemiplegia, loss of cognitive ability and risk of dementia). The aorta may also be achieved, as well as the arteries of the legs, causing pain arteritis, with a risk of gangrene.

The crack of atherosclerotic plaque, for example due to increased blood pressure, may result in the breaking of the plate, with the risk of aggregation of blood platelets and formation of a thrombosis (blood clot ) in the artery. Sometimes this clot breaks, causing emboli (particularly cerebral embolism).


Various studies have demonstrated antithrombotic and antiplatelet effect of olive oil. It was verified that diets rich in olive oil, in fact, allowed to mitigate the prothrombotic effect of fatty foods avoiding excessive blood coagulation, which explains the low incidence of myocardial infarction in countries where the Olive oil is the main source of fat.


Cholesterol is a substance related to fats and present in animal foods.

A diet rich in animal fats produced an increase in plasma cholesterol levels, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Fat (triglycerides) and cholesterol are transported in the blood by lipoproteins. A strong positive correlation was observed between the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and very low density (VLDL) and the atherogenic risk. Excess LDL and VLDL causes the atherosclerotic lesion itself to cause accidents such as myocardial infarction. That is why this cholesterol fraction is also called "bad cholesterol". In contrast, cholesterol of high density lipoproteins (HDL) protects against the development of cardiovascular diseases. That is why it is also called "good cholesterol". HDL removes free cholesterol from cells, esterify and carry it to the liver where it is eliminated with the bile.


Olive oil reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in the blood -, but does not change so far - it can in some cases increase - the level of HDL cholesterol which exerts a protective role and anti-atherogenic.

The positive effect of the consumption of olive oil in the development of cardiovascular diseases, both in primary prevention (reducing the risk of onset of a first episode of the disease) in secondary prevention ( after the first episode took place in order to prevent a recurrence) has been verified.

The object of some current research is to demonstrate not only the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet in the prevention of coronary events, but also, for the first time, the positive influence of olive oil on depression associated with these episodes and depressive states in general. These results are of great importance given the high incidence of this disease and the high risk it assumes in the case of recurrent disease.

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