Olive oil – a source of health for Mediterranean peoples

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Olive oil – a source of health for Mediterranean peoples

According to contemporary research conducted on the population of the population living in the Mediterranean region, these people enjoy incomparably better health than the societies of the central and western regions of Europe. Among others, the reason for this is definitely a larger share in their daily diet of omega 3 fatty acids contained in fishes of marine fish, and omega 9 contained in olive oil. 

Thanks to such a diet, the population of Mediterranean countries, despite not lower blood cholesterol, is much less likely than other European populations to have coronary heart disease. 

In the process of thoroughly understanding why healthy fats belong to olive oil and other cold pressed vegetable fats – I suggest a little bit of history. 

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 Well, just over 100 years ago, extrusion of oil from nuts, sunflower seeds, linseed, oilseed rape, or also in the south of Europe from olives – took place only on hand presses and only on cold. In these difficult times, people knew that vegetable fat is expensive to produce, and significantly increases the taste and health benefits of dishes and that it breaks down very easily. Therefore, with due respect, they carefully stored it in stone vessels standing in dark and cool cellars. In fact, at that time food was either fresh or broken, because no preservatives were known, of course some of the meat was salted, vegetables and fruits were pickled and their durability extended, whereas the oil could be either fresh or broken. 

In today’s prosperous world, on the store shelves, vegetable oils stand for months and nothing happens to them. How is it possible? 

Namely, one of the many inventions of the industrial and technical revolution was the process of producing vegetable fats of prolonged durability. 

A special technology for refining vegetable fat was developed, as a result of which all ingredients responsible for spoilage were removed from it, which significantly prolonged its durability. 

The main factor responsible for the deterioration of liquid vegetable fats are the unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins that are so beneficial to our health. The more unsaturated bonds have such a fat, the more unstable and susceptible to the oxidation process (i.e. the attachment of oxygen to carbon atoms at the place of the double bonds). 

In order for the fat not to deteriorate (oxidize) and to have a consistently more useful consistency in the food industry, the so-called hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids began to be carried out. 

The process of hydrogenation used in the production of margarines consists in the connection of hydrogen atoms to carbon atoms at a critical location of carbon double bonds forced at very high temperatures. In this way, unsaturated fat becomes saturated fat with carcinogenic almost trans-type trans. In the industrial hydrogenation process carried out at high temperatures, vitamin E, lecithin and pro-vitamin A completely disappear, while healthy fats omega 3 and omega 6 are transformed into carcinogenic hydrogenated fats of the “trans” type. Their carcinogenic action is based on the fact that our body does not distinguish this form from the correct “cis” form and uses them in the same way for building in the form of phospholipids into cell membranes, cells that are part of various body tissues. 

The task of phospholipids is consistent with their physicochemical properties, permeability or blocking the access of various substances to the cell. If a cell instead of a normal phospholipid in its cell membrane has a built-in “trance” form, then the flow of information and foreign substances into the cell is completely uncontrolled, which leads to mutation and, worse, to uncontrolled reproduction in the cancerous form. In order to lighten this phenomenon even a little, it suffices to mention that since “trances can significantly change the properties of vegetable oil visible to the naked eye and transform it into a solid hard margarine, we can imagine how different they are from the correct” yew “shape and how large cancerous changes can make our so complex body in the cells. 

Moreover, the ‘trans’ isomers have an impact on the increase in the level of insulin in the blood, decrease in testosterone levels (and what do you dear readers exercising hard on?), They also affect the potential production of free radicals in the human body, also have the ability to penetrate the placenta to the fetus pregnant woman, and as a result of breastfeeding – with milk get into the body of a newborn baby. 

And returning to the oil production processes, also industrial grain fat pressing began to be carried out at a temperature of more than 80 * C, which led to some structural changes in the raw material (among others led to a significant softening of hard seeds) allowing a much larger quantity to be produced in a faster time oil, than it would be with cold grains. Of course, this allowed for the production of a large amount of cheap oil, unfortunately, the high temperature had a negative impact on the health benefits of the oil obtained. 

Moreover, in the process of refinement taking place at high temperatures (200-300 * C), the next stage of large-scale production of vegetable oil with prolonged durability, it is already possible to completely remove the spoiling oil, vitamins, phospholipids and unsaturated fatty acids. 

Unfortunately, the pioneers of the production of non-vegetable fats did not realize at the time that extending fat durability as well as hardening, although it is technically advantageous, has a health like proverbial fist. 

Of course, today, in order to fix, although partly mentioned, errors, I am refilling refined oils with synthetic vitamins that do not cause accelerated spoilage of the product. Of course, you can not compare this oil with oil containing natural vitamins, phospholipids and NNKT (essential fatty acids). 

The above process can be compared to what is done with flour and sugar, i.e. the products are maximally refined first, depriving what is beneficial to our health, and then enriched with synthetic vitamins and mineral substances. 

Nowadays, being aware of this, we can choose between margarines as well as other refined liquid fats, and healthy cold pressed oils that contain natural vitamins, phospholipids as well as essential unsaturated fatty acids. 

The omega 9 fatty acids (omega-9) that are mentioned at the beginning of the campaign are hosted on the counter of each store produced in Mediterranean countries olive oil. 

We distinguish it with three quality classes – extra-virgin, virgin and pure. Both extra-virgin and virgin are produced during the extrusion process on cold hydraulic presses, with the exception that the extra grade is made of the best quality olives. Pure, on the other hand, is a combination of olive pomace oil already used for the production of top grade olive oil with other refined oils, so it is definitely not worth recommending. 

Unfortunately, most vegetable fats consumed by a resident of industrialized countries undergo a frying process. The standard is fast food and some restaurants frying all day long dishes on the same oil, which after exceeding the recommended time to replace becomes a source of totally worthless and in addition unhealthy – carcinogenic fat with “trans. 

Please also realize that a very large source of hydrogenated trans fats are all food products based on them. Foods containing unhealthy “trances” can be classified as cakes, cookies, chips, chips as well as all dishes served in fast-fudges. 

Personally, I recommend frying olive oil and of course using fresh oil each time for another dish. A good source of monounsaturated fatty acids, the same as those found in olive oil, are walnuts, earthnuts, almonds and pistachios (naturally, I mean fresh products that are not roasted and salted) 

I also suggest paying close attention to the fat we buy. Remember that valuable unrefined fats containing unsaturated double bonds will always be relatively expensive, will have a short shelf life, and will be stored in dark opaque packaging with low capacity. 

Let’s try all the fats, especially those cold-pressed, stored in a dark, cool place – preferably in a refrigerator, and do not buy more than we can use in one month. 

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You can read also: Mediterranean diet

Posted on: March 7, 2019

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