Olive Oil and Health

    Nutritional characteristics

    Nutritional values provided in the table at the end of the page are those found on Monini's product labels.
    We decided to abolish the nutritional values table on our labels for two reasons:

    • they are standard values that do not vary with the origin, cultivar and especially the quality of the oil.
    • for obvious reasons of space, it is much more useful to provide at least a part of the information that actually contributes to determining the quality of the Extra virgin olive oils.

    We will now move on to describing the various points of the nutritional table:

    • ENERGY VALUE: all fats make up the same calories and this value is obtained for all oils by multiplying the amount (100 ml), expressed in grams, namely 91.6 by the value of 9 kilocalories.
    • PROTEINS, CARBOHYDRATES, FIBRE, SODIUM, CHOLESTEROL are absent in all olive oils.
    • FATS: all oils are pure fat, 100 ml of oil weighing 92 g (91.6 g to be precise). Fats (Saturated, mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated) are important and consumers should know that it is essential to choose foods with the lowest possible Saturated fats (which cause atherosclerosis and heart attacks), POLYUNSATURATED fats (abundant in seed oil), should also be minimised since they form free radicals, accelerating the ageing process and the onset of certain cancers. In this regard it should be noted that olive oil, especially if Extra virgin, is the ideal dressing, while seed oils and solid fats of animal origin (lard, butter, typically meat fat) or vegetable (oil palm, coconut, margarines etc..) precisely due to their composition of fatty acids, must be used sparingly.
    • VITAMIN E: average value is equal to 15-16 mg and a portion of use (a tablespoon) contains 20% of the daily requirement. Even here this value is present both in very high quality and poor quality oils.

     

    MONINI has chosen to specify useful information on the label to guarantee and demonstrate the high quality of its products:

    • The acidity value is one of the indexes that determines how healthy the olives are: the lower the value, the healthier the olives. As can be noted, acidity is imprinted and guaranteed for all MONINI products and varies from a maximum of 0.4% for CLASSICO to 0.3% for GRANFRUTTATO, against the high 0.8%  limit established.
    • The organoleptic characteristics (smell and taste) vary according to the type of cultivar, of greater or lesser intensity and refinement of taste, and assist consumers to better define its ideal taste, and the most appropriate pairing with dishes.

    The intensity of organoleptic characteristics and low acidity depend on the abundant presence in a quality extra virgin olive oil of certain substances. POLYPHENOLS are very potent antioxidants that have a bitter and spicy taste, typical of olives, and which modern medicine assigns a role that is more important than vitamin E in defending the body against cellular ageing and the onset of some forms of cancers.
    This is why Monini has chosen to indicate in its label those characteristics that not all oils have and that, in fact, distinguish quality products.

     

     

     

     

    Beneficial aspects of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Extra virgin olive oil is a key element of the "Mediterranean diet" which for some years has become synonymous with taste and health worldwide. In fact, compared to other condiments of plant origin, extra virgin olive oil is surely the most tasty, but also the most beneficial.

    One feature which arises firstly, from the fact that it is the only oil that is obtained by simply squeezing the olive, without the aid of chemical solvents or other industrial processes, as happens with other vegetable fats or oils. It is a simply "olive juice" which transfers all the natural substances contained in the olive to the extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil contains a significant amount of powerful antioxidants, vitamin E and polyphenols.

    In addition, quality extra virgin olive oil is good for you because it is good: adds and enhances the taste of food, and is the condiment that has the best balance of fats. In fact it is low in saturated fat, the main cause of increased levels of cholesterol in the blood, high in mono unsaturated fat, which is oleic acid, and contains essential fatty acids omega 6 and omega 3 in a proper relationship to each other, and almost identical to the fat in breast milk, thus, positively influencing our body.

    In most seed oils and polyunsaturated fats omega 6 and omega 3, besides not having an optimum ratio, are present in higher amounts resulting in the formation of free radicals and engaging vitamin E exclusively in its antioxidant role, thus negating the vitamin activity.

     

    A healthy life style requires a healthy diet

    This is the concept which promoted studies undertaken by American scientist Ancel Keys during the 70's. The results of which were summarised in the "Mediterranean diet".

    In summary, it was intuition that was then demonstrated in a study conducted for 20 years in Finland, Japan, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States and Yugoslavia. The results demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet determined the life expectancy of adults as being the highest in the world, with drastic reductions in the incidences of coronary heart disease, some types of cancer and many other diseases also correlated to the types of food consumed.

    A healthy diet involves firstly taking in moderate amounts of food, then secondly paying attention to their chemical composition.

    The food model developed by Ancel Keys, who became known as the "Mediterranean diet" based its case on certain foods, and among these, in reference to the types of fats to be consumed, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Oil in the Mediterranean diet for its concentration of mono unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, plays a key role.

    A concentration of antioxidants

     

    Vitamin "E": Fat oxidation is countered by antioxidants present in food. A right balance exists when the ratio between vitamin E and linoleic acid is higher than 0.79. In seed oils this ratio is unfavourable and varies between 0.30 and 0.50, while in olive oil it is equal to 1.87, more than twice that necessary to safeguard the formation of endoperoxides that activate platelet aggregation, increasing the risk of thrombosis. The good relationship between vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids also fights the formation of free radicals in the body, thus counteracting the ageing process of cell structures, carcinogenesis, liver damage, and atherosclerosis.

    Polyphenols: The olive is a fortunate exception in nature: fat in the fruit is present in small quantities in the seed (the stone) and the remaining part is in the aqueous fruit. On the other hand seed oils, (oils derived from seeds), fat is entirely contained in the seed. Nature has therefore given the olive and therefore the oil produced, a group of substances that are powerful antioxidants in addition to a high content of vitamin "E": Polyphenols: In addition to the antioxidant action polyphenols also have an important role in giving extra virgin olive oil a livelier, slightly bitter yet spicy taste that plays an important physiological role in food, improving its palatability and providing increased digestibility.

     

    Extra-virgin olive oil and other fats

    All fats and oils contain 98% triglycerides and, in turn, they consist of fatty acids. Fatty acids can be in saturated, mono unsaturated or finally polyunsaturated form. To find the right balance in our diet we need to know that:

    Saturated fatty acids, abundant in animal fats, significantly increase the level of cholesterol in the blood, with all the familiar consequences known such as atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease;

    Polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic), abound in seed oils, reduce blood LDL-cholesterol (the bad one), but they also reduce HDL cholesterol (the good one!). Further to this, it is important to note that animal organisms are not able to manufacture linoleic and linolenic acids that we must however include in our diet. BUT NOT TOO MUCH! In fact, polyunsaturated acids are also highly unstable and too much besides being unnecessary, is also harmful for the body. They oxidise very quickly, forming free radicals, thus contributing to cellular ageing, and causing tumours of various kinds, and in particular colon and breast cancer.

    Mono unsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid), are abundant in olive oil, significantly reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad one!) without lowering good cholesterol or HDL. In addition, they have an excellent resistance to oxidation.