Olive oil composition

jarra con aceite de oliva

Olive oil is one of the healthiest vegetable fats of all due to its lipidic composition and its minor components. Olive oil is mainly composed of monounsaturated fatty acids. The extra virgin olive oil, when extracted only by physical methods at low temperature, retains all the minor beneficial components of the olive fruit.

If you are looking for quality extra virgin olive oils, you have found the best shop, El Cortijuelo de San Benito. Here you will find the best selection of extra virgin olive oils, the best brands: Oro Bailen, El Empiedro, Castillo de Canena, Oro del Desierto, Casas de Hualdo… and the best production areas: Baena, olive oil from Jaén, Sierra Magina, Sierra de Cazorla, oil Priego de Córdoba, Montes de Toledo, Valencia, etc…

Chemical composition of olive oil

The components of extra virgin olive oil can be divided into two main groups: the largest components, which account for 98% and 99% of all olive oil, and the best ones, which account for around 2% of extra virgin olive oil, are those that give flavour and aroma. This 2% is where most of the beneficial properties of olive oil are found, and these are gradually degraded in the oil. That is why it is important that the oil we consume is fresh and year round.

The major components are glycerides; these can be monoglycerides, diglycerides and triglycerides. Glyceride chains are mostly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids, the oleic fatty acid.

Among the other components that we find to a lesser extent in the majority components, are the free fatty acids, which can be saturated (stearic, palmitic…) and unsaturated: monounsaturated (oleic, palimitoleic…) and polyunsaturated (linoleic and linolenic) Among all the fatty acids in majority is the monounsaturated fatty acid oleic, although this proportion depends on each variety of olive oil. The extra virgin olive oils of the picual and cornicabra variety, typical of the area of Jaén and Toledo, are rich in oleic fatty acids. Oils of other varieties, such as arbequina, have a higher quantity of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Minor components: The minor components of extra virgin olive oil are usually 1 or 2% of the total, and are those that give flavor and aroma to the oil and are where most of the beneficial properties are found.

The minor components are mostly antioxidants and aromatic substances

Diagram 1: Chemical composition of extra virgin olive oil

The oleocantal:

Oleocantal, one of the most recognized compounds in extra virgin olive oil, was discovered by Gary Beauchamp during an experiment to improve the taste of ibuprofen.

While a team of scientists, nutritionists and chefs were conducting a molecular study with gastronomic foods, Beauchamp made a tasting of olive oil at the same time when he discovered great similarities between the taste of a particular olive oil and ibuprofen.

Numerous researchers have established that the oleocantal has a great ability to provide potent anti-inflammatory properties, which inhibits the cyclooxygenase enzyme, in the same way as ibuprofen. Other studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil will help in the chemoprotection of brain cancer, reducing the invasive development of breast cancer, decreasing the cases its relapse, and will play an important role in the treatment of bladder cancer.

In addition, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Nutrition and Cancer, it should be investigated whether oleocantal might also provide antiproliferative activity against melanoma cells.

This new study investigated the effect on melanoma and its cellular activity of the application of a pure, direct and purified extraction of the oleocantal. Also, human melanoma cells with high tumor activity and metastasis were compared with dermal fibroblasts (normal skin cells of the human body).

For the first time, the study revealed that oleocantal inhibits growth in melanoma cells in a concentration-dependent manner, i.e., the more cells exposed to oleocantal, the less they proliferate and cause cancer. The same result did not occur with fibroblasts in the dermis. These results suggest that the oleocantal has a selective activity on cancer cells.

However, more studies should be carried out to confirm whether the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil will in fact be a pharmaceutical agent that could be used for the treatment of melanoma.


Picture 1: Sunflower field

Composition of other oils: sunflower, palm, coconut

The great difference between extra virgin olive oil and other oils is that extra virgin olive oil has been extracted by physical methods at low temperatures and without any chemical process. This confers to this fat that does not lose any property of its natural fruit, the olive. From other fats such as sunflower, which is also very healthy, or palm and coconut oils, its oil is extracted by high temperature methods and using chemical methods. After these so-called refining methods, the oil loses most of its minor components and beneficial properties.

The composition of sunflower oil is mainly made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Coconut and palm oils, by saturated fatty acids.

Nutritional composition of olive oil

Olive oil is a fat, and it is essential that we incorporate it into our diet, not only because of its great benefits for the heart and degenerative diseases such as cancer. Olive oil is a vehicle for the transmission of fat-soluble vitamins, which we can only ingest if we take a fat



Revista especializada en aceite de oliva “Olive Oil Times: https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/

Organismo oficial por la lucha contra el cáncer:

Página web de la Sociedad Española de Oncología Médica:

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