We must bear in mind that not all the fats we eat are the same and that we must learn to differentiate between saturated fats and unsaturated fats, the latter group being the one to which extra virgin olive oil belongs. Likewise, we must learn to control the quantities of each ingredient we eat, taking the recommended measures for a balanced diet. Therefore, extra virgin olive oil is a healthy fat that many consider essential for everyday life, as the nutritional quality of this ingredient is so high that the calories in it take second place.
What is extra virgin olive oil made up of?
Extra virgin olive oil, as we have already mentioned, is a fat, but in order to understand its specific properties, we must go deeper into its composition, which is made up of almost 98% triglycerides of three different types: oleic, linoleic and palmitic acids. The concentration of these components will depend on the variety of olives from which the extra virgin olive oil is made, but in this case, we’ll focus on extra virgin olive oil made of picual variety, the most common in the Spain. Picual extra virgin olive oil has an 80% concentration of oleic acid. A big number of national and international researches find this ingredient with great health benefits, especially for the cardiovascular system. This is due to the fact that oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid that belongs to the Omega-9 group.
In addition to the effect of triglycerides, other micronutrients, such as polyphenols and vitamin E, increase the nutritional value of this olive oil.
How many calories does extra virgin olive oil have per 100 grams?
Each 100 grams of extra virgin olive oil accounts for 884 calories, which if we consume just one spoonful would be around 135 calories accounting for approximately 15 grams. However, as we have already indicated, the composition of the 100 grams of fat contained in extra virgin olive oil can be broken down into 14 grams of saturated fatty acids, 10 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids and 73 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids.
These measurements are approximate and may vary depending on the type of olive from which the juice is extracted and whether or not the final product has undergone a filtering process after extraction.
How much extra virgin olive oil can we consume per day?
When we reach adulthood, the recommended daily calorie intake is between 2,000 and 2,500 calories, with only 30% coming from healthy fats, which are also part of a balanced diet. In order to understand it better with exact measurements, according to the experts, we should consume more or less 40 ml of olive oil, preferably raw. Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent substitute for other less healthy foods made up of empty calories that do not provide any nutrients.
Some useful tips for everyday use are, for example, the use of a cooking spray which will stretch the recommended amount better throughout the day. In addition, when frying food, we should take into account absorbing the oil left over from the preparation so that we do not consume so much extra virgin olive oil in a single meal. Although extra virgin olive oil is a recommended food, we should control its consumption and not exceed the recommendations of health professionals and scientists by too much.
What are the differences between the fats present in extra virgin olive oil and other types of oil?
Now that we have discovered that fats are not our enemy and that we must take into account their origin and type. What if we compare extra virgin olive oil with other types of fats present in foods widely used in everyday life for the same purpose?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
· Saturated fatty acids: 14
· Monounsaturated fatty acids: 72
· Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 9.2
· Saturated fatty acids: 9
· Monounsaturated fatty acids: 20
· Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 62.8
· Saturated fatty acids: 48.3
· Monounsaturated fatty acids: 23.4
· Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 1.9
· Saturated fatty acids: 14,3
· Monounsaturated fatty acids: 25.3
· Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 39.9
Saturated fats are those that cause a greater increase in blood cholesterol and, if ingested in excess, can lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol, which is why we can see in the comparison that butter contains the most of this type of fat. Even so, there is a type of fat that is even more harmful, trans fats, which are the ones that carry the greatest cardiovascular risk.
Monounsaturated fats are mostly oleic acid which helps to increase HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol while reducing LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol. In this typology, extra virgin olive oil stands above the rest by a large distance, protecting us from oxidation, reducing blood pressure and inflammation, as well as reducing the formation of blood clots.
Polyunsaturated fats are of great importance as they are not synthesized by our organism, so the only way to integrate them is through the ingestion of certain foods. They have a high content of linolenic acid (Omega-3) and linoleic acid (Omega-6) which must be in perfect balance when ingested, in a ratio of 1:5 to 1:10.