The largest representative of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, which is the main ingredient of the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is a natural juice which preserves the taste, aroma, vitamins and properties of the olive. It is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - raw and fresh directly after its extraction from the olive.
In fatty selection process Olive oil is a healthy choice. It contains monounsaturated fat, a healthier type of fat, which reduces the risk of heart disease by reducing the total and low density lipoprotein levels (LDL or "bad") cholesterol in blood.
The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to its high monounsaturated fatty acid content, and the high content of antioxidants. Studies have shown that olive oil protects the heart by controlling and reducing the "bad" cholesterol while raising the levels of "good" (HDL) cholesterol. No other naturally produced oil has as large in monounsaturated fat - mainly oleic acid.
Nutritional value per 100 g. (3.5 oz)
• Energy 3,701 kJ (885 kcal)
• Carbohydrates 0 g.
• Fat 100g.
• Saturated 14g.
• Monounsaturated 73 g.
• Polyunsaturated 11g.
• Omega-3 Fatty <1.5 g.
• Omega-6 Fatty 3.5-21 g.
• Protein 0 g.
• Vitamin E 14 mg (93%)
• Vitamin K 62 mcg (59%)
Studies have shown that olive oil applied to the skin immediately after exposure to solar UVB rays has protective effects on the growth of tumors and skin cancer.
H Jeanne Calment, which holds the world record as the oldest person who ever lived, even so many years after her death in 1996 at age 122 years, attributed the longevity and relatively "youthful" appearance in olive oil put in all of the dishes and applied to the skin.
Homer called olive oil "Liquid Gold" and Sophocles described it as the «Nurse of children» (paidotrofon). For the Mediterranean population, olive oil, beyond its nutritional and therapeutic properties, has been an indicator of wealth and power.
In recent years people talk about the Cretan diet as a model of a healthy life style, which is mainly based on olive oil, vegetables, and fruits. Studies have shown that the Crete population has a lower mortality rate due to less coronary-related diseases compared to other populations. This protective action of olive oil is due to the large amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to secure the heart, in contrast to other animal-derived fats (butter, margarine, etc.) which are enriched in saturated fatty acids.
Other scientific evidence suggests that the high consumption of olive oil reduces the levels of LDL cholesterol but does not decrease the levels of HDL cholesterol as do other oils.
As the nutritional and biological value is very high for humans, olive oil is among the 10 most beneficial foods.