nutritional aspects

The extra virgin olive oil has always been considered halfway between food and medicine. I
n the Middle Ages it was used to treat gynaecological infections and all through the nineteenth century it was used to treat earache or as mild purgative, especially for children. Still nowadays farmers use it to extract splinters from under the skin, to treat stomach-ache and to soften callosity of the skin, as well as our ancestors used it to make hair soft and shiny. Today, many cosmetic products used for the skin are made also with olive oil, which leaves tissues tonic and elastic.

L’olio in Toscana Today medicine is re-considering the therapeutic properties of olive oil. The reasons of this renewed interest are the followings:
- a low content of solid fats, which make it easy to emulsify;
- a high digestibility;
- it makes liposoluble vitamins easy to be absorbed;
- it has moderate amount of vitamins A and carotene, which prevent the oil from oxidising and going rancid;
- it has moderate amount of chlorophyll, which gives the oil a more or less intense green colour.

Dieticians usually advise using extra virgin olive oil as a seasoning, in order to give food more flavour and, at the same time, improve health conditions of consumers. In fact, the extra virgin olive oil protects the organism from arteriosclerosis and hearth attack, both caused by a high cholesterol level. This is a consequence of the amount of saturated fatty acids (animal fats in particular), which are absorbed by our organism though food.
Moreover, extra virgin olive oil helps to protect arteries, stomach liver bile ducts and metabolism, helping child growth and prolonging life.