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Antioxidant Properties

What are antioxidants & oxidative stress?

Oxidation is a process that occurs inside our bodies, is a chemical reaction that causes wear and tear and cell death. Oxidation is the key in the aging process. These reactions form free radicals ( peroxides ). Peroxides do not cause severe damage if a balance of antioxidants is well kept. However, if the balance is uneven , “oxidative stress” occurs, causing deterioration of cell functions and cell death.

Olive oil fatty acids show little susceptibility to oxidation. A diet high in levels of olive oil content will make the cells more resistant to oxidation, cells do not deteriorate as much or as fast therefore olive oil slows down the process of aging.

About 1.5 percent of olive oil is made of antioxidants. Extra virgin olive oil contains these and other minor beneficial components in large amounts.

Antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil

Antioxidants include vitamin E ( alpha-tocopherol ), carotenoids and phenolic compounds ( simple phenols such hydroxytyrosol and complex components such oleuropein ) . These antioxidants have been proven to prevent certain diseases and the aging of cells.

Olive oil’s phenolic content changes depending on climactic conditions in the area in which the olive oil is produced, how and when the olives are harvested and the ripeness of olives at the time they are picked ( best hand picked ). Also makes a big difference the production and storage methods.

Phenols have extensive and great biological properties, for example they act as an anti-inflammatory and encourages nitric acid formation, which exhibits anti-bacterial properties. They also aid the body to fight against the toxic effects of oxidants

The high level of antioxidants found in the Mediterranean diet contributes to it’s longevity.

You can find these antioxidants in fresh vegetables and fruits. Because olive oil is the only oil made from a fruit, it retains a variety of vitamins and antioxidants that add nutritional value.

Olives are exposed to the air, and therefore needs to protect itself from oxygen. Therefore, it creates a larger number of antioxidants, which continue to the oil through oil production.

Virgin olive oil that hasn’t been treated industrially or refined, is specially rich in these substances and possesses a strong antioxidant effect, protecting against toxic free radicals, and cancer formation among other diseases.

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