- HOJIBLANCA EXTRA VIRGIN OIL MAKES PEOPLE HEALTHIER
- EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL IN THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
- NUTRICIONAL PROPERTIES OF OIL
Since 2004, the Olive Communal Patrimony and the Group Hojiblanca have been collaborating scientifically to determine the benefits of olive oil and the prevention of cardiovascular illnesses. It is part of the clinical trial PREDIMED (Prevention Mediterranean Diet) that currently represents clinically the greater investigation that is being carried out in the world on the benfits of olive juice. Up to now, studies that had been carried out were either of a descriptive nature; centered only on a few individuals; on animals, or were only theoretical in nature. PREDIMED will be the first clinical trials to show the effectiveness of the extra virgin olive oil in the prevention of cardiovascular illnesses. This type of epidemiological study will offer the greatest scientific evidence. The first results obtained demonstrate that consumption of Hojiblanca extra-virgin olive oil - the oil which is used for all of the participating groups in the clinical trials - indeed has a protective effect, obtaining positive short-term results in relation to arterial tension, while also diminishing the total levels of cholesterol and increasing the protective effect of HDL cholesterol. This study has been carried out by 17 research teams of different areas in Spain thanks to the financing of companies at the Institute Carlos III of Madrid and the Olive Communal Patronage (Madrid). This project, that continues to be developed, has awoke great interest among the scientific community, to the extent that on the 5th of July the presentation of the first results was done simultaneously in Madrid and Malaga. That same day, the first results were published in the prestigious American magazine Annals of Internal Medicine (Anales de Medicina Interna). The news spread into the mainstream media, and many photos of the Litre Bottle of Hojiblanca appeared. It is the first time that the same type of oil (Hojiblanca) has been used throughout a study. maintaining a constant profile for chemical and physical analysis. There are 3 reasons why choosing this oil was obvious: the fact that it has a suitable composition for the studies objectives; it has also been used previously for clinical trials of this nature; and the Group Hojiblanca offered to participate in every aspect of the investigation, development and innovation, because in the end, it is a good thing for the cooperative members. During the five years that the trial will last (beginning in 2003), the study will demand some 150,000 litres of Hojiblancan extra virgin olive oil, that the Olive Communal Partimony will vote for, which is a respresentative company of the entire investigation sector project and it will, as well as Hojiblanca, finance the operation. The remainder of the financing will come from the Institute of Investigation of Carlos III, Madrid.
The PREDIMED study began in October 2003 with aid from the Institute of Health Carlos III and is made up of 17 groups of investigators in 8 CCAA. Among other participating groups are the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Malaga (Dr. Joaquín Fernández-Crehuet and Enrique Gómez Grace); the Puerta del Este Health Center of Seville; The Virgen del Rocío Hospital of Seville; The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Navarra; Provincial Clinical Hospital of Barcelona; Municipal Institute of Medical Investigation of Barcelona; Hospital of Chagorrichu of Vitoria; Center of Primary Attention of Reus; Health Center Of Palma de Mallorca and Faculty of Medicine of the University of Valencia; All this with the support of the Instituto de la Grasa del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) of Sevillein where Valentina Ruiz Gutiérrez works, and is an expert in oil investigation. It is a 5 year trial, multicentric and randomized, that evaluates the efficacy of a traditional Mediterranean diet supplemted with extra virgin olive oil or dry fruits, in comparison with a controlled group that recieves the ordinary counsels of primary prevention of cardiovascular illnesses in high risk people. In parallel, the effects of oil consumption on arterial pressure, sensitivity to insulin, inflammation and endotelial dysfunction, as well as weight and adiposity will also be studied. The intention is to conduct these trials with 9,000 participants. The candidates are selected in Centers of Primary Attention, and are people at high risk from cardiovascular illnesses, they are then randomized into three intervention groups of which there are 3,000 people in each: i) Mediterranean Diet + extra virgin olive oil (1 litre/week); ii) Mediterranean Diet + dry fruits (15 g/day of nut, 7.5 g/day of allmonds, and 7.5 g/day of almonds; iii) Low Fat Diet, defined by the recommendations of National Cholesterol Education Program de EEUU. All participants recieve an individual conduct guideline, and groups will be seen quarterly by expert dieticians coached for the study. At the start and annually thereafter, participants are asked to complete a general questionaire, food consumption frequency surveys and physical activities, apart from determining their mesures and arterial pressure. Also samples of serum, plasma, cell paquete, urine and toe nail (used for determining heavy metals) are collected. As an objective measure of adhesion to the supplemented food, biological scoreboards are drawn up (plasmatic fatty acids, tirosol and hidroxitirosol in urine).
BETTER TO FRY WITH VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
The professor of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Granada, Raimundo Gómez del Moral, has affirmed the belief that frying food coated in breadcrumbs in extra virgin olive oil conserves better the nutritious qualities in the fish, while also keeping it juicier. Gómez del Moral also advocates the use of extra-virgin oil against other olive oils since it conserves "all the vitamins and good elements needed for health". He has also indicated that Hojiblanca olive oil is among the best in which to fry foods, and recommends frying with extra virgen oil "provided that the oil is not re-used more than three times on different types of food, and that the temperature does not surpass 180 degrees." These tests were organized for the summer courses of medicine Corduba 06, they were organized (among others) by Doctor Fernando López Sure, clients of Hojiblanca and The Regulating Counsel of the Denomination of Origin.
OLIVES BETTER THAN SEEDS
Virgin Olive Oil can be used 3 OR 4 times to fry, provided it is cleaned of impurities after each time, the temperature of the oil doesen't exceed 180degrees, and that the food being fried in it, isn' t greasy. Olive oil contains a high prrcentage of monosaturated fats, and these are less likely to change when fried. Whereas oil that comes from seeds, contains polysaturated fatty acids which are more likely to change when fried and to generate unwanted toxics.
Until recently, the eating habits of the Mediterranean countries had little prestige. The people of Spain were seen as people of low stature, in an epoch characterized by poor health which reflected their theoretically poor diet. There were some foods which were consumed as the base of the diet, those such as extra-virgin olive oil, and they did not have a good reputation, in spite of the fact that the Mediterranean Diet originated in "the cradle of civilization." The preparation of food, for example the frying of food in a bath of oil that was, and is, one of the characteristics of the Mediterranean Diet, was not understood.
Fortunately, ideas surrounding this type of cooking have changed! Toward the fifties, doctors Ancel and Margaret Keys of the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota (US) had already observed that a smaller number of cardiovascular illnesses occurred in Mediterranean countries, when compared with more northerly European countries as well as the Americas, which presumably related to the form of diet. This fact was subsequently confirmed in the Seven Countries Study (Study of the Seven Countries), by professor Grande Covian. 15 years of observation showed a spectacular difference in the coronary mortality rates of Finland and Crete. Subsequent epidemiological studies in which Spain was also included showed that our country had one of the lowest number of deaths by heart attack in Europe, second only to Portugal.
After exhaustive analysis, the differences in the cardiovascular health of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean basin with respect to the other countries in the study, was attributed chiefly to the type of fat consumed. The countries with the smallest number of deaths by heart attacks consumed a large amount of "greasy acid monoinsaturates," essentially oleico and less saturated fats. These qualitative differences in the consumption of fats themselves was due chiefly to the high consumption of extra virgin olive oil.
The virgin olive oil has been cultivated for millenniums in the countries of the Mediterranean basin. In its beginnings it was used for religious purposes, replacing other kinds of fats when an individual was in abstinence (120 days of the year) and also for the candles in churches. It's main characteristic is that, as opposed to refined oils, it is obtained naturally as opposed to chemically, and in fact, only "virgin" oil, is extracted naturally.
In spite of the fact that extra virgin olive oil contains the same calories per gram as other dietary fats (9 kcal/g), its chemical composition, in this case the proportion of fatty acids present in it, as well as the presence of some composed antioxidants (polifenoles, fenoticianos) means that this oil has exceptional nutritious properties. It contains 55-80% of oleico acid and 3-20% of linoleico (essential fatty acid). It also contains vitamins AND, provitamin To and composed fenolics that act as antioxidants. During the refining process these beneficiaries are lost, and are therefore only found in extra virgin olive oil. The oleico acids found in diets rich in extra virgin olive oil reduces the total levels of cholesterol found in blood as well as those that are united to LDL and VLDL, above all, the trigliceridos, and it also enlarges the cholesterol that is united to HDL (good cholesterol). As well as being antitrombotic, anti-inflammatory and vasodilator, therefore reducing arterial pressure, it also has numerous positive effects on the digestive system preventing ulcers, reducing the formation of acids, aiding biliary and pancreatic secretion and helps to the chance of constipation. Furthermore, the oleico acid is more resistant to oxidation than polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in soy, sunflower and corn). On the other hand, the utilization of this oil has facilitated a higher consumption of fresh vegetables, in the form of salads, unique to Mediterannean countries. Extra virgin olive oil has many favourable culinary properties, it can be fried to high temperatures, producing few benzoprenes (procancerigenas substances) and can be reused for frying up to 5 times.
Frying food in extra virgin olive oil - a native culinary technique utilised in Mediterranean countires - is now considered to be a very healthy method of cooking. When the frying process is carried out correctly, ensuring correct temperature and time taken to fry the food, a phenomenon regarding the penetration of the grease into the fried food occurs, namely that a peripheral crust is formed that impedes the penetration of hot fats into the interior of the food. Because of this, there is a also a smaller loss of vitamins and minerals compared with stewing or roasting. The grease consumed is far smaller in quantity and therefore the caloric value of the food does not enlarge by any great amount. There is also no reduction in the nutritious quality of fried food compared to fresh produce, the amount of vitamin C contained in vegetables remains practically the same, and the composition of fats in meats are actually better than before it is cooked.
All in all, we can say that the secret of good health and a good diet is found in the correct balancing of food; high consumption of vegetables and cereals, and fruit, low but sufficient consumption of animal products, especially fish, all supplemented with olive oil (the star of the Mediterranean diet). This has been shown to have spectaculor effects on ones health.