The European Union is by far the largest producer and the world’s largest consumer of olive oil. This product, which always ranks among the basic ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine spread throughout the Union’s territory has now become part of the culinary traditions of a growing number of consumers, who have discovered and appreciated the intrinsic qualities . In Italy the production of extra virgin olive oil is the prerogative of the south: Apulia, Calabria and Sicily have an impact on national production by about 80% of all the olive oil produced each year in the Belpaese. The remaining production is divided by Tuscany, Liguria, Umbria and Abruzzo.
Main food of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is particularly rich in monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid. Thanks to its special composition of fatty acids is one of the best condiments to control the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, fights aging, and not only as a good protector of the arteries, also assumes great importance in the prevention of cancer: it is strongly recommended to use in frying food because its smoke point is 140-180 ° and can reach 280 ° without burning due to its low acidity. Olive oil is mainly used as food, but also in therapy for the laxative properties and colecistocinetiche as hepatoprotector, against gastric ulcers and as a local softening. The decoction of leaves and bark is used to combat rheumatism, fever, hemorrhoids and to disinfect wounds and injuries. “The people of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the olive and the vine,” wrote the great historian greek Thucydides in the fifth century BC. And so we think in 2016 AD. The history of the olive is the history that accompanies the development of Mediterranean civilization from its very beginning and is one of the most shared symbols.