Oxidation is a process that occurs not only when oil is being produced, but also inside our own bodies. Reactions occur continually inside the body, giving rise to the formation of free radicals (peroxidants). Evidence is accumulating that most of the degenerative diseases that afflict humanity have their origin in deleterious free radical reactions. Antioxidants are needed to prevent the formation and oppose the actions of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which are generated in vivo and cause damage to DNA, lipids, proteins, and other biomolecules.
Approximately 1.5% of olive oil is made up of the unsaponifiable fraction, which contains antioxidants. Virgin olive oil contains the largest quantities of these substances and other minor components.
The main substances of olive oil with antioxidant activity are:
They reduce the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. They reduce also cardiovascular diseases and they limit cancer diseases.
Several studies in Mediterranean countries have shown that the incidence of heart disease is lower than would be expected by blood cholesterol levels. This discrepancy can be explained by the high amount of olive oil in the diet in this region.
High doses of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) over at least two years can significantly reduce coronary heart disease (CHD) risk (31-65%). High-dose vitamin E supplementation significantly reduced the incidence of non-fatal heart attacks.
Polyphenols (simple phenols such as hydroxytyrosol and complex phenols such as oleuropein) have been shown to have a host of beneficial effects from healing sunburn to lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of coronary disease.
Phenolic compounds of extra virgin olive oil have a distinct anti-inflammatory effect and oleuropein, inhibit platelet aggregation
Epidemiological studies suggest that olive oil exerts a protective effect against certain malignant tumors (breast, prostate, endometrium, digestive tract).
A number of research studies have documented that olive oil reduces the risk of breast cancer. Eating a healthy diet with olive oil as the main source of fat could considerably lower cancer incidence.
In the webinar of Agricourses.com you can learn more about Olive Oil Quality