Olive oil (extra virgin, though!) is one of the very few completely natural products (like honey and grape juice). Cold pressed, not "corrupted" by any other substances, it's extracted just as it is in nature. It is a neutraceutical product (a term born many years ago from the union of the words nutritional and pharmaceutical) - that is to say classified on the borderline between a food and a medicine. In the other foods defined as "nutraceutical" (yoghurt, milk, biscuits, cornflakes) omega 3, vitamins and antioxidants are often added chemically. Three very important properties of extra virgin olive oil (but they are certainly not the only ones!) may now, on the basis of the opinion of the EFSA, European Food Safety Authority, be printed on labels:
- It is a natural source of vitamin E, the vitamin which protects cells from oxidation damage.
- It helps maintain the normal levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, by replacing saturated fats in the diet with the unsaturated contained in the oil.
- The polyphenols in the oil combat oxidative stress in the organism.