WHAT VITAMINS ARE FOUND IN OLIVE OIL?
Olive oil and, in particular, extra virgin olive oil is a well-known ally of our health. This healthy fat is a fundamental pillar in the structure of our beloved Mediterranean diet and the list of properties in our organism demonstrated by science seems to grow longer every year, but what makes this product such a healthy food?
Olive oil is mainly composed of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic, palmitoleic, linoleic or linolenic acids known for their functions on our cholesterol and nervous system.
It is also very rich in polyphenols; bioactive substances without caloric contribution that have a high antioxidant power in our organism and at the same time, they have vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic and antiterogenic action.
But there is a group of substances that have a fundamental role in our nutrition and are present in olive oil: vitamins.
In particular, EVOO is very rich in the four vitamins that we want to share with you today, namely vitamins A, D, E and K. Let's discover why these are so important for our health.
Let's start with vitamin A, since the alphabetical order has always shown courtesy and this vitamin, an ally of our health, deserves no less.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin (it dissolves in fats) that our body stores in the liver. This vitamin is especially important for pregnant women because it is there where it fulfills its main function: the correct development of the fetus.
Vitamin A promotes the formation and maintenance of teeth, soft and bony tissues, mucous membranes and helps to protect the general health of the skin so that it looks healthy and protected.
Perhaps there is another name for this vitamin that you are more familiar with, "retinol". Lately this name has been used as a claim in different cosmetic products for its well-known properties, but the truth is that it receives this name because it is the cause of the color pigment in our retinas. Did you know that?
Now let's talk about vitamin D, which is perhaps the most familiar to everyone as it appears as a supplemented ingredient in a multitude of foods that we consume on a daily basis. Milk, for example, is the clearest case of this addition as a commercial claim, but wouldn't it be better to consume it naturally and palatably, as in a delicious piece of toast with oil?
Vitamin D is usually associated with calcium, and vitamin D ensures that this calcium is assimilated in the body. Moreover, when these compounds act together, they contribute to the prevention of osteoporosis, a disease that makes bones thinner and weaker and more prone to fractures and to the general maintenance of our bone structure.
Our body also needs vitamin D for other functions. Our muscles need it for proper movement and coordination with the central nervous system and these nerves need it to transmit messages between the brain and other parts of the body. Vitamin D is essential for the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses that attack it.
Do you know how you can also get vitamin D naturally? By exposure to the sun. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, our body produces it naturally, but always with protection, as the use of sunscreen does not prevent this production. We recommend you to enjoy, sitting on a terrace, a toast with a good extra virgin olive oil this weekend, of course.
Let us continue with this brief summary to introduce vitamin E, perhaps the vitamin most closely related to EVOO consumption due to its high concentration, particularly in this foodstuff.
The main function of this vitamin is as an antioxidant. Vitamin E protects our organism from free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells, tissues and organs and are involved in ageing, especially in the premature ageing of, for example, our skin.
Various studies over the last few decades have also linked vitamin E and its high intake to protection against various heart diseases and some types of cancer.
Although an essential function of this vitamin is cognitive care, it is known to play an important role in protecting our brain structure against dementia and strokes.
Last but not least, vitamin K; perhaps the least known of the four that we have detailed today.
Its main function is to be an anticoagulant element; it regulates coagulation in our vascular system; in fact, when this vitamin is in very low levels, haematomas appear in our body.
A vitamin K deficiency can also lead to loss of bone mass, heavy menstruation and other problems also related to blood coagulation.
This vitamin is also an ally of our bone health and its adequate consumption guarantees correct protection of our bones, just as vitamin D does, as we explained in the previous paragraph.
All these vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of our body and their proper intake with foods rich in them, will help us to have a healthy and future quality of life, plus, do you know how good is a tomato from our Andalusian fields with a good splash of EVOO on top?
We invite you, as always, to enjoy our oils and, this time, to enjoy them while you get to know why they are not only delicious, but also a guarantee of health.