Well known for being high in heart protective monounsaturates, virgin olive oils also contain a range of antioxidant plant compoundsand vitamin E.

The main type of fat in olive oil is monounsaturated, which helps prevent cholesterol being deposited on artery walls and therefore helps protect us from cardiovascular disease and strokes. In addition, early pressings of the olives (as in extra virgin olive oil, particularly “cold pressed” oil) produce an oil that is rich in beneficial plant compounds. These can protect against cancer and high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and the particular compound oleocanthal, an anti-inflammatory with similar action to ibuprofen. Finally, olive oil is a good source of vitamin E. Helps improve blood cholesterol profile and protect us from cardiovascular disease. Rich in polyphenols to protect against colon and other cancers. Can help prevent H.pylori which can lead to stomach ulcers. Antibacterial and antioxidant.

Practical tips:
Olive oil should be stored in the dark and used within one to two months. When buying olive oil, choose a store that keeps it in dimly lit conditions and has a high turnover. For the full benefit of olive oil, eat it cold in salad dressings or drizzled on bread or vegetables. Don’t use extra virgin olive oil for cooking at high temperatures or the beneficial chemicals will be destroyed.

Researchers in Italy have found that light destroys many of the disease-fighting compounds in olive oil. Studies showed that after a year, oils stored in clear bottles under store lighting showed at least a 30 percent decrease in antioxidants.

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