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Extra virgin olive oil is the food that most characterizes the Mediterranean diet. It is the only oil that is obtained solely through a mechanical extraction process. However, not all oils can boast the name of extra virgin. To do this, they must meet certain requirements dictated by European regulations.

First of all, the acidity requirement, which must be equal to or less than 0.8%. Furthermore, through the "panel test", an organoleptic analysis also regulated by strict European standards, its flavour, colour, smell and appearance are examined. The superior quality EVO oil is obtained by cold pressing, controlled by electronic devices and which must not exceed 27 degrees. In this way, in fact, it is guaranteed that the processing does not alter the precious organoleptic characteristics of the oil.

More and more studies confirm over time the various benefits of extra virgin olive oil for health. Some studies analyze the results, which appear to be promising, in the prevention of diabetes and liver protection. Others focus on its role in preventing Alzheimer's and colon cancer, reducing the risks of breast cancer and stroke. But among the various properties of extra virgin olive oil there is undoubtedly that of protecting our arteries, regulating the levels of "bad" cholesterol present in the blood.

In fact, high levels of LDL cholesterol are a cause of the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, which narrow veins and arteries and which in the long run can cause heart attacks and strokes. With extra virgin olive oil the levels of bad cholesterol are lowered. Furthermore, extra virgin olive oil is undoubtedly a rich mine of antioxidants that fight the fight against free radicals, defending our body from premature aging. The latter are mainly responsible for the cellular damage typical of age. But that is not all. The digestive system also enjoys the benefits of EVO oil, as it reduces the secretions of gastric acids and consequently the danger of ulcers.

But what are the right quantities of oil to take to enjoy all these benefits? Three tablespoons a day is enough. Better if raw but due to its high percentage of oleic acid, olive oil has a high smoke point, therefore a high heat resistance which also makes it excellent for cooking. But it is important to choose extra virgin olive oil carefully, be wary of products that cost too little and prefer cold-pressed oil, because it is richer in polyphenols.