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Olive oil as food product


"people like it and it's good for health"
Olive oil is a good cooking ingredient, used for seasoning all kinds of food (meat, fish,...): it is excellent for seasoning salads, and a basic ingredient for mayonnaise.
With its content of less unstable fatty acids that those found in seed oils, olive oil is ideal for frying, for its critical temperature is much higher than the usual temperature for frying food. All oils at high temperature and in the presence of atmospheric oxygen undergo an acceleration of oxidation, which is higher when the instauration level is higher, whereas it is delayed by the presence of antioxidant substances. In these conditions, polyunsaturated fatty acids are highly unstable, quickly oxidise, and form free radicals or polymerise; among all oils, only olive oil, which has a high content of monounsaturated (more stable) fatty acids and antioxidant substances, better reacts to the combined attack of oxygen and high temperature levels.
There are two main factors causing fat alterations during cooking: 
- temperature level; and 
- duration of cooking time. 
The temperature level is based on the fact that every fat has its own point of tolerance, called smoke point or critical temperature, above which the glycerol contained in fatty acids decomposes into acrolein, a very harmful substance (for example for liver). Olive oil has one of the highest smoke points of all oils, up to approximately 220°C. The duration of cooking time is even more important and is based on the fact that the first changes occur at not very high temperatures; if kept constant, for a long time, these temperatures may produce substances with toxic effects. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that olive oil is better for frying than other oils.