What you should know about this extraordinary product from the land
The Health benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Positive effects on cholesterol
The extra virgin olive oil helps lower excess cholesterol. It does not generate “bad” cholesterol (LDL) at all, and boosts the formation of “good” cholesterol (HDL). This process ensures the integrity of our arteries, cleaning them from LDL cholesterol and atherosclerotic plaques, preventing these substances from sticking to the walls of our arteries.
High vitamin content
Extra virgin olive oil has a large proportion of vitamin A and E, whose quantity depends not only on the variety of olives, but mainly on the quality, ripeness and health of the olives themselves. It is important to know that damaged olives generate a lower vitamin content in the oil.
The richness of extra virgin olive oil dietary fats ensures a more balanced development in children, helping the cellular tissue to assimilate the substances indispensable to growth. Growing children as well as adults need a diet rich in healthful oils such as extra virgin olive oil: it will contribute to a well balanced diet that will help them develop as needed, giving them the extra energy they require.
Extra virgin olive oil helps regulate bowels
Extra virgin olive oil helps the liver and regulates the intestinal activity. The consumption of extra virgin olive oil reduces the risk of gastric and duodenal ulcers, exerts a laxative action, helps to correct chronic constipation and has a protective effect against the formation of gallstones.
Extra virgin olive oil is easy to digest
Extra virgin olive oil is not less digestible than other oils. On the contrary, recent studies have demonstrated that it is 100% digestible, whereas other oils are far less digestible: i.e. sunflower oil 85%, peanut oil 81% and corn oil 36%. Compared to other fats, such as animal fats, extra-virgin olive oil is the easiest to digest.
Getting to know your extra virgin olive oil
The extra virgin olive oil is the only superior quality natural product produced by pressing olives by mechanical means, without chemical processes. Olive oil instead is obtained by refining techniques.
The quality of an extra-virgin olive oil depends on natural factors such as the variety of olives, the production area, the climatic conditions and soil composition. All these elements affect the taste and aroma of the oil. It is wrong to believe that there are “lean” extra virgin olive oils and “fat” ones: a “sweet” extra virgin olive oil has the same amount of fat as a “spicy” or a “bitter” one. Furthermore, just like any other fat, extra virgin olive oil contains 9 calories per gram.
Acidity is the percentage of oleic acid present in an extra virgin olive oil and it is a quality indicator . The acidity of an extra-virgin oil should never exceed 0.8%: the acydity of Merlini extra virgin olive oil never exceeds the 0.2%! We should not forget that only laboratory analyses can establish whether an extra-virgin olive oil is acid or not. Acidity is often mixed up with bitterness, which – most of the times – is just the sensation perceived by the palate when tasting a young oil coming from not fully ripened olives. A good extra-virgin olive oil, when tasted, should always close on a bitter and spicy note. The acidity may increase as a result of negligence during the production procedures: such as the use of unhealthy and over-ripen olives, extra long lapses of time between the harvest and the olive pressing and also the lack of care during the press process.
Taste The very strong and spicy taste that you feel while tasting an extra virgin olive oil is not a defect, on the contrary it is one of its distinctive characteristics, typical of a good natural product that preserves all its healthy properties..
Color actually is an unreliable indicator of quality. The quality of the extra virgin olive oils is determined mainly by the variety of olives, the degree of maturation and the predominance of chlorophylls and carotenes contained in them. Regardless of the taste, the color of a good extra virgin olive oil can have an infinite range of shades, from bright green to golden intense. You can have a bright green extra virgin olive oil with a subtle and delicate flavor and, on the other hand, a pale yellow extra virgin olive oil characterized by an intensive taste. Reddish brown or gray shades indicate, however, some alteration and oxidation.
How to store an extra virgin olive oil. Storage of an extra virgin olive oil is very important to maintain its high quality. The extra virgin olive oil fears three enemies: smells, light and heat. So it is a very good idea to store it in a cool and dry place at normal room temperature, away from direct light and air. It should be consumed within 12 months after bottling, as after that period the fragrance and flavor fade and the olive oil tend to lose its organoleptic properties.
Even though reading the label can generally guarantee the quality and origins of an olive oil, it can also be an end in itself. Direct purchase from the producer, where you can taste the oil, is therefore the best way to buy it.
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