What makes virgin olive oil virgin?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “What makes virgin olive oil virgin?”, and share what are the health benefits of olive oil consumption.

What makes virgin olive oil virgin?

There are many degrees of virginity when it comes to olive oil. In general, the more the fragrant properties of the olive are kept, the more virgin the oil. 

The International Olive Council (an organization of olive oil producers) created a categorization based on objective criteria to govern industrial production. According to these guidelines, olive oil is virgin if it is extracted physically (the olives can be pressed or heated) rather than chemically. 

The acidity of this product is determined by the quantity of a component known as oleic acid: if it is equal to or less than 1%, the oil can be branded extra virgin.

The oil is simply considered a virgin if it contains between 1.1 and 2%. It is considered common virgin olive oil if it contains between 2.1 and 3.3 percent.

If the acidity exceeds 3.3 percent, the oil is unsuitable for human consumption and must be refined. So, suppose he loses his virginity. As refined oil loses its olive scent, it is frequently blended with a little amount of virgin oil, and the product branded as olive oil appears, devoid of any descriptors.

What are the health benefits of virgin olive oil consumption?

Olive oil is the oil extracted from the olive, the fruit of the olive tree. This tree is one of the oldest known in the world, being cultivated before the invention of writing. Therefore, it is known that the consumption of olive oil is millenary, but it is not known since when it became part of meals.

It has also been used to relieve pain and heal wounds in wars. And olive oil is the best example that not all fat is bad. Due to its beneficial properties to the organism, the Mediterraneans nicknamed it “liquid gold”.

Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest and has a distinct flavor and scent. The advantages of virgin olive oil are the same as those of extra virgin olive oil; however, the greater acidity level leads to a worse taste and scent. Although refined has a poor grade, it nevertheless contains fatty acids. And olive oil is a blend of refined and virgin or soy oil.

Monounsaturated fats, omega 9, vitamins E, A, and K, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and amino acids are all found in olive oil. Aside from antioxidant qualities, which give a variety of health advantages. Olive oil is commonly used to season salads and meats in Brazil since it enhances the flavor of meals.

It has anti-inflammatory effects

Extra virgin olive oil contains a natural anti-inflammatory compound that inhibits the activity of enzymes involved in inflammation and pain in the same way that ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug commonly used to relieve headaches, throat, and muscles, according to research published in the scientific journal Nature. 

Regular use of the substance would provide relief to persons suffering from these and other chronic pains, such as joint and back discomfort.

It protects against heart disease

Because it is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (omega 9), frequent use of olive oil helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL) (HDL). It is also high in polyphenols, which are responsible for the distinctive flavor, as well as antioxidant and cardiovascular disease prevention properties.

High LDL levels have been linked to the creation of fatty plaques, which obstruct blood flow and can lead to heart attacks and strokes. 

Protects the brain

Olive oil includes antioxidants that are linked to good brain function and preservation. These medications are beneficial in avoiding damage caused by cerebral artery blockage, such as strokes. 

The idea of olive oil helping to enhance cognitive functioning is currently being researched. The reason for this effect would be a molecule found in the oil called hydroxytyrosol, which is capable of preventing neurodegeneration and thereby delaying the aging process of the brain.

Relieves rheumatoid arthritis symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis is a joint condition that is persistent, inflammatory, and autoimmune. Consuming meals like fruits and whole grains, as well as healthy fats like olive oil, can help to reduce inflammatory symptoms. The use of extra virgin olive oil has been associated with a decrease in chronic pain. 

Conclusion

In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “What makes virgin olive oil virgin?”, and shared what are the health benefits of olive oil consumption.

References

“Azeite faz bem para o coração; veja mais 8 benefícios dessa gordura boa”. Acessado 10 de fevereiro de 2022. https://www.uol.com.br/vivabem/noticias/redacao/2019/10/25/azeite-faz-bem-para-o-coracao-veja-mais-8-beneficios-dessa-gordura-boa.htm.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.