Olive oil, apart from its great nutritional value, contains natural antioxidants (substances that protect our bodies from the harmful effects of free radicals). The properties of olive oil were already appreciated in antiquity when great physicians like Hippocrates and Galen discovered its beneficial effects on humans.
Today the olive oil produced in the endless groves on the island of Crete is regarded as one of the healthiest in the world due to the island’s climatic conditions, and ideal soil for the nurturing of the tree. It is no accident that Crete pioneered the cultivation of olive oil in the distant Minoan past, spreading the knowledge to other parts of the European Mediterranean. The ‘juice’ of the olive has a wonderful aroma, a fruity flavour and possesses particularly valuable biological, nutritional, protective and therapeutic properties with beneficial effects on the development and maintenance of the human body.
Olive oil combines a greater range of advantages compared to all the other fatty substances eaten by mankind. These observations are supported by research and epidemiological surveys worldwide. Overall, the presence of olive oil in the Cretan and by extension Mediterranean diet is considered one of the main factors for its high nutritional value.
Cretan people use olive oil in their daily lives for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to cooking. In addition, one may show and conclude that olive oil:
- Treats intestinal and liver ailments
- Prevents the development of gallstones
- Assists diabetics
- Protects the skin from the sun’s rays
- Has a beneficial effect on the growth of the skeleton
- Extends the youthful vitality of the body
- Hinders the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and of some cancers.
These are just a few of the reasons why more and more people try to integrate the use of olive oil, and especially extra virgin olive oil, into their diet. Olive oil is used fresh on salads or in cooking to bring out delicious flavours and to create healthy combinations. The typical daily energy needs of the adult human body amount to 2500 calories – the consumption of 20-25 gm of olive oil each day covers the requirements for fatty acid intake and that of Vitamin E. More and more people around the world incorporate it into their eating habits – enjoying its rich flavour and its special impact and value in nutritional well-being.