The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, have long been highlighted by numerous scientific studies. It’s now a well established fact, that first-class olive oil can be defined, in all respects, an elixir of long life. But be aware, only if its produced to high standards and the quality is scrupulously proven.
After the organic olives have been picked and the extra virgin olive oil has been extracted using the latest technology, it is actually the Chemical and Sensory analyses that definitively validates the olive oil’s wholesomeness.
When an extra virgin olive oil is genuinely good, it releases intense aromas and obviously tastes great. It can be reminiscent of various scents such as: fresh olives, cut grass, artichokes, tomatoes or almonds (…) and it can, also be, deliciously spicy and pleasantly bitter.
All these characteristics are called organoleptic or sensory evaluation, ie. substances that can be perceived and evaluated by the human senses, such as smell, taste, sight. If they are positive, then we can be assured that the extra virgin olive oil in question is not only an excellent product but also a precious ally for our health.
On the other hand, in the chemical analysis of the olive oil, the components to look for are the tocopherols and polyphenols, which are specifically the substances that determine the aroma, spiciness, pungency and bitterness. They have essential antioxidant properties and, in addition to being healthy, they guarantee the stability of the olive oil.
In addition to polyphenols, the acid and peroxide indexes are among the main parameters to be researched in the chemical analyses. These indexes determine and verify the quality of the oil. The acidity (not perceptible to the taste!) is used to evaluate the freshness of the product and to ascertain the conditions of the raw material. Whereas the oil’s degree of oxidation is measured through peroxides.
These components are critical in revealing a lot of the necessary information to the producer, helping them to improve and maintain all the extractable properties of the olive itself.
Olea Prilis oil has a characteristic spicy scent due to a high content of polyphenols including oleocanthal, an organic substance present in olives, which has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties similar to those of ibuprofen, without having the side effects. A significant percentage of Oleocanthal is present when olives begin to ripen, then it decreases drastically when they are completely ripe. Olea Prilis olives have been harvested and processed right at the best time – not too early and not too late!
Another miraculous substance with high concentrations in extra virgin olive oil is squalene, a chemical compound unique in its kind, with antioxidant, detoxifying and especially anti-tumor properties. Research has shown in fact that squalene seems to inhibit tumor growth, so it takes on an important role in the fight against cancer.
The discovery was made by studying the biology of some shark species that don’t get cancer. These sharks live in deep water where there is an absence of oxygen. Squalene allows these fish to have oxygen readily available in their metabolism.
A striking finding by some researchers at the University of Molise stands out among the most recent studies on extra virgin olive oil. They identified, for the first time, the antioxidant activity of the extra virgin olive oil’s microbiota by studying in vitro a number of yeast strains isolated from the oil itself, therefore discovering its probiotic properties.
So it’s been proven that a normal daily intake of high-quality extra virgin olive oil, as a Mediterranean dietary staple, has positive effects on the body and definitely improves our lifestyle and health.
This is why superior extra virgin olive oil like Olea Prilis cannot be compared in price nor in beneficial properties to the anonymous inexpensive olive oil that comes from industrial production made from olives with diverse origins. An extraction that leaves intact all the precious elements that the olive can offer only takes place with care and rigorous attention to all the necessary manual and mechanical processing steps. Only an artisan family-run business, in love with its precious plants and following its mission, can truly guarantee this.
Original text in Italian by Caterina Mazzocolin