Olive Oil – the Liquid GoldJune 24, 2020 2023-03-10 20:19
Olive Oil – the Liquid Gold
Olive Oil – the Liquid Gold
Olive oil, the liquid gold, the green gold or also known as the gold from the Mediterranean.
People have worshiped the olive tree and its fruit for thousands of years. Olive oil is not only a popular food, it also makes you healthy and beautiful. In ancient times, “liquid gold” was even said to have medical superpowers.
Cold-pressed olive oil has been proven to be used as a medicine in ancient times. At that time, it was primarily used as the basis for various types of medicinal ointments that alleviated inflammation and alleviated itching. And to this day, olive oil is contained in numerous skin and hair cosmetic products.
In fact, the antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects of olive oil have long been known. Nevertheless, scientific research into over a thousand active biological agents is still in its infancy. In 2005 researchers from the University of Pennsylvania discovered the active ingredient oleancanthal in olive oil, which has an anti-inflammatory effect similar to that of the drug ibuprofen. It is also said to protect against vascular diseases: The alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, contained in olive oil, acts as a free radical scavenger.
Nevertheless, even the best olive oil cannot make up an otherwise unhealthy diet or lifestyle. Doctors therefore advise balanced consumption.
In the supermarket you can find olive oil with different names.
The acidity and the amount of polyphenols show how high-quality and therefore healthy an oil is.
A good olive oil must taste like the fruit, a little like artichoke, almonds, fresh grass or thistle. It must have a bitter taste and then it also scratches in the throat because of its sharpness.
Fruity, bitter and pungent are also officially the positive attributes in the EC regulation 640/2008 for the taste test of olive oil. For examiners, e.g. the German Olive Oil Panel, the balanced ratio of these three properties is of crucial importance.
The bitter taste comes from the polyphenols in olive oil such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. Oleocanthal – an oleuropein derivative – provides sharpness, scratching the throat.
Polyphenols and oleocanthal are very healthy secondary plant substances and shape the structure of the good oil. They have an antioxidant effect and are of great importance in the prevention of various types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
The acidity is a very important quality feature:
- Extra virgin olive oil: The cold-pressed oil from the fruit of the olive tree has an acidity of at most 0.8 grams per 100 grams.
- Extra virgin olive oil: The cold-pressed or not cold-pressed oil from the fruit of the olive tree has an acidity of maximum 2 grams per 100 grams.
- Olive oil: Oils that cannot be classified as virgin olive oils are physically cleaned (refined) and then mixed with virgin olive oil. Their acidity is a maximum of 3 grams per 100 grams.
The most important quality feature is the polyphenol content:
Polyphenols and oleocanthal are very healthy secondary plant substances and shape the structure of the good oil. They have an antioxidant effect and are extremely important in the prevention of various types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
The most important polyphenol in olives is oleuropein, which is a good antioxidant and therefore a strong scavenger of free radicals, which can cause great damage to the body. Therefore, olive oil is said to play a major role in cancer prevention. It is known that stomach and colon cancer, in particular, where olive oil is used in the kitchen every day, are much rarer. Because oleuropin protects against the harmful effects of free radicals, it also slows down aging processes and has a not insignificant anti-aging effect. Last but not least, oleuropin has a protective and healing effect on the heart and blood vessels and has outstanding anti-inflammatory properties.
The content of polyphenols is different for each olive variety, but harvesting, processing and storage are much more important. The more immature, i.e. green olives are harvested, the more polyphenols they contain. Conversely, olive oils that are made from tires or even olives that have fallen to the ground have a very low polyphenol content. Every little injury to the fruit should be avoided during the harvest so that no oxidative processes start. A farmer who wants to produce a top-quality oil will therefore literally touch his olives with kid gloves.
Because an olive oil with a very high polyphenol content can be recognized by its intensely pungent and bitter taste, which is particularly noticeable with pure enjoyment.
- Good olive oil:
Polyphenol values from 250 mg/kg.
- Premium olive oil:
Polyphenol values from 400 mg/kg
In compare to olive oils from the supermarket contain at best 100 mg/kg.
Studies and publications
Scientific advice to justify health claims related to olive oil and to maintain normal blood LDL cholesterol levels. By the European Food Safety Authority
Health-promoting effects of the phytochemicals of olive oil, from the Institute for Arteriosclerosis Research at the Westphalian Wilhelms University, Münster.
Scientific knowledge about olive oil in the diet, from the Institute for Arteriosclerosis Research at the Westphalian Wilhelms University, Münster.