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Olive oil's health benefits

Olive Chemistry

In this section, we describe the chemical composition of olive oil, and some of its characteristics. We discuss the different fatty acids found in olive oil. This will help you understand the effect of olive oil on a healthy diet. You will also find explanations of such terms as olive oil acidity, peroxides, or polyphenol antioxidants. Although the subject is pretty dry, it is critical for olive oil producers and consumers to understand what these terms mean as they are invaluable tools to making and buying a high quality product.

Olive oil's health benefits
The greatest exponent of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, and it is a prime component of the Mediterranean Diet. Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive fruit. Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - freshly pressed from the fruit.

The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol) levels. (1-3) No other naturally produced oil has as large an amount of monounsaturated as olive oil -mainly oleic acid.

Olive oil is very well tolerated by the stomach. In fact, olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally than prescribed drugs. Consequently, it lowers the incidence of gallstone formation.

Olive oil and heart disease
Studies have shown that people who consumed 25 milliliters (mL) - about 2 tablespoons - of virgin olive oil daily for 1 week showed less oxidation of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidant compounds, particularly phenols, in the blood.(4)

But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed.

Olive oil is clearly one of the good oils, one of the healing fats. Most people do quite well with it since it does not upset the critical omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and most of the fatty acids in olive oil are actually an omega-9 oil which is monounsaturated.

Olive oil and colon cancer
Spanish researchers suggest that including olive oil in your diet may also offer benefits in terms of colon cancer prevention (5). Their study results showed that rats fed diet supplemented with olive oil had a lower risk of colon cancer than those fed safflower oil-supplemented diets. In fact, the rats that received olive oil had colon cancer rates almost as low as those fed fish oil, which several studies have already linked to a reduction in colon cancer risk.



Types of olive oil
Generally, olive oil is extracted by pressing or crushing olives. Olive oil comes in different varieties, depending on the amount of processing involved. Varieties include:

Extra virgin - considered the best, least processed, comprising the oil from the first pressing of the olives.
Virgin - from the second pressing.
Pure - undergoes some processing, such as filtering and refining.
Extra light - undergoes considerable processing and only retains a very mild olive flavour.

When buying olive oil you will want to obtain a high quality EXTRA VIRGIN oil. The oil that comes from the first "pressing" of the olive, is extracted without using heat (a cold press) or chemicals, and has no "off" flavors is awarded "extra virgin" status. The less the olive oil is handled, the closer to its natural state, the better the oil. If the olive oil meets all the criteria, it can be designated as "extra virgin".

What is pure and light olive oil? "Pure" olive oil is made by adding a little extra virgin olive oil to refined olive oil. It is a lesser grade oil that is also labeled as just "olive oil" in the U.S.

"Light" olive oil is a marketing concept and not a classification of olive oil grades. It is completely unregulated by any certification organizations and therefore has no real precedent to what its content should be. Sometimes, the olive oil is cut with other vegetable oils.

The Olive PRODUCTION

No  2005 PRODUCTION
- Total 17,317,089
1 علم إسبانيا Spain 5,160,100
2 علم إيطاليا Italy 3,849,830
3 Flag of Greece.svg Greec 2,225,000
4 Flag of Tunisia.svg Tunis 1,065,000
5 Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey 920,600
6 Flag of Syria.svg Syria 856,890
7 Flag of Morocco.svg Morroco 320,000
8 علم مصر Egipt 318,339
9 علم الجزائر Algeria 190,000
10 علم البرتغال Portugal 180,000

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