The main ingredient of the food pyramid in the Mediterranean diet.

Extra virgin olive oil: The main ingredient of the food pyramid in the Mediterranean diet.
The extra virgin olive oil represents the highest quality, offering the best flavor and full benefits for the consumer.
  • Extra virgin is the high quality olive oil, which has not undergone any treatment during extraction from the olive fruit. It is a product derived from the fruit of the olive tree, which is extruded in a hydraulic press without heat, or hot water supply.
  • At the first pressure, the produced olive oil is called "extra virgin cold pressed" and its main feature is the low percentage of free fatty acids. The olive oil remains unfiltered in order to produce a superior quality product, rich in nutritional value, with superior organoleptic properties. 
  • The unique ingredients of extra virgin olive oil make it a product of the highest nutritional value, whose beneficial properties have been scientifically proven. The extra virgin olive oil is unique, among other vegetable oils, due to the high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, rich antioxidant substances, as well as the presence of minor components, such as phenolic compounds. The main phenolic compounds identified  in olive oil is hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleoeuropain, a bitter but powerful antioxidant, and other secondary products, derived during their hydrolysis.
  • One of the important beneficial phenolic compounds is oleocanthal, which is proposed to be reason of the therapeutic properties of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, as a model of the Mediterranean diet, have been recognized in many studies.

  • Researches  have shown that, in the Mediterranean population, the "life expectancy" has been increased, as well as the carcinogenic risk has been reduced. According MAGIATIS 2012 ,  extra virgin olive oil has antioxidant, neuroprotective, cardioprotective and other properties.
  • Oleocanthal, a substance with strong anti-inflammatory activity, comparable to those found in medicines, is the cause of "burning" when swallowing and it shows to the empirical growers that the olive oil is good. Oleacein is the most powerful antioxidant of olive oil.
  • Samples of Greek olive oils (99 mg/Kg) that were included in the study of the University of Athens, while oleacein was close to the The concentration of oleocanthal in samples of “Elixirion Ltd”, harvest 2012, according to average (48mg Professor Mayatis’ team analisis and resolutions, was higher than the average values of the /Kg).

         Ioanna P. Petkopoulou

Dr Chemist Engineer
Msc foods-Chemist Engineer
Applications Services of Agricultural & Quality manager