Virgin olive oil retains its properties when cooking

Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to protect health, particularly due to its antioxidant content. However, there are not many studies on whether it is the best oil for frying. New research from the University of Barcelona has shown that this type of oil maintains its health properties when cooking. This is a common technique in Mediterranean cuisine where the oil is heated. For this reason, these results could be relevant for future dietary guidelines.

Consume virgin olive oil healthy

researcher examines olive oil in the laboratory

The published study is the collaboration of a research team from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences, the Biomedical Research Center for Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition and the University of São Paulo. Virgin olive oil is the source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. It has a unique composition of fatty acids with a higher antioxidant content than other edible oils. Its health benefits are mainly related to these compounds, which scientists call polyphenols.

“Researchers have always used laboratory or industrial technology to investigate the effects of cooking on these polyphenols from oil. However, these are far from the reality of households. “That says Rosa Lamuela, director of the Institute for Nutritional Research and Food Safety. For this study, however, the researchers simulated the cooking conditions of a household kitchen. The aim was to see how homemade roasting affects the polyphenols of extra virgin olive oil. The researchers examined the effects of time and temperature at 120 ° C and 170 ° C on the breakdown of antioxidants.

study results

healthy oil for frying in a pan chef

The results show that the polyphenol content decreased by 40% at 120 ° C and by 75% at 170 ° C during the cooking process. The researchers compared this with the content of antioxidants in crude oil. In addition, the cooking time affected individual phenol, but not its total content. Overall, the values ​​meet the parameters declared healthy by the European Union.

“Despite the decrease in the concentration of polyphenols during the cooking process, virgin olive oil has a content that reaches the health declaration in accordance with the European regulation. This means that it has properties that protect oxidation of LDL cholesterol. “This is noticed by Julián Lozano, first author of the publication.

traditional dishes mediterranean diet virgin olive oil

However, the health effects in the Mediterranean diet were difficult to reproduce in non-Mediterranean populations. According to the researchers, this fact could occur due to different cooking practices. In this context, the results of previous studies by the research group are added. In these, the researchers assess the effects of extra virgin olive oil on sauteed cooking with positive results. This strengthens the idea that Mediterranean gastronomy is beneficial for our health not only for food, but also for cooking techniques.

According to the authors of the study, the current goal is to analyze the effects of cooking with extra virgin olive oil with other food elements such as legumes, meat, etc. “In addition, we should do random research studies on humans and compare the potential benefits we get when cooking with extra virgin olive oil compared to other oils. “

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