The quality of olive oil is the quality of your health.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of high-quality extra virgin olive oil?
is it acid If your answer is yes, then you should check out the following article.
Everyone knows that a good extra virgin olive oil is accompanied by low acidity. The maximum limit to characterize an olive oil as “extra virgin” is 0.8%. As a result, consumers tend to look for extra virgin olive oils with packaging that screams “low acidity,” “0.2%,” “0.1,” etc. in big letters
But I have to ask something: is that enough?
Acidity is defined as (%) grams of free fatty acids (expressed as oleic acid) in 100 grams of olive oil.
If we analyze the definition, we can see that the lower the acidity, the better the olive oil. But what about all the other parameters that go into a chemical analysis? Can acidity itself determine the quality of extra virgin olive oil?
The answer is that it is not possible!
As a food scientist and health-conscious person, I come to the following statements:
Acidity is a very important factor that determines the quality of extra virgin olive oil, but not alone.
Fortunately, this is not the only factor under investigation. Otherwise, all of this ultra-low acid, refined olive oils, when blended with lower quality olive oils, would result in a blended olive oil with an acidity of much less than 0.8% to successfully pass the “Extra Virgin” test.
The chemical analysis includes other important parameters, such as peroxides, waxes, and UV absorption parameters. In addition, the taste of the olive oil is also a critical role model.
From this, we can conclude that acidity is a parameter that can guarantee the quality of extra virgin olive oil only if all other parameters do not exceed the limits for the extra virgin olive oil category.
Explanation of the labeled extra virgin olive oil:
Polyphenols, acid, peroxides, K232, K270, ΔΚ, waxes
Most consumers carefully examine the label of an extra virgin olive oil before purchasing it. But do they understand what all the parameters mean? Let's take a look.
Polyphenols give olive oil its unique flavor and improve its shelf life. Some extra virgin olive oils contain much more (up to 500% more) than others. Polyphenol intake has been linked to a lower incidence of cancer and coronary artery disease (CAD). Timing of harvest, variety, extraction method, and grove management all affect phenolic content. Processing or refining olive oil destroys polyphenols. Refined olive oils like "virgin olive oil," "light/light olive oil," and "pomace olive oil" have little or no polyphenols, but the same amount of calories as olive oils that do. Heat, light, oxygen, and time reduce the polyphenol content in olive oil. In general, more robust oils have higher phenolic compounds than milder oils. A phenol number of less than 120 (expressed in mg/kg) is considered low. Native oils with a phenol count between 120 and 220 are considered medium. Olive oils with a count above 220 are considered rich in polyphenols. Some of the more intense extra virgin olive oils contain levels of 350 or higher.
Oleic Acid (Omega 9)
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Monounsaturated fatty acids are found in varying concentrations in virgin olive oil and are believed to reduce the risk of heart attack, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Virgin olive oils with higher levels of oleic acid tend to be more stable and last longer. In this sense, high oleic acid acts more like a natural preservative. Oleic acid is measured in percentage in olive oil. Values range from 45% to 80%+.
Free Fatty Acids (FFAs)
The FFA level is sort of an indicator of the condition of the fruit at the time the oil was extracted - it's like a freshness quotient. Maturity plays a big part in the level of FFAs. Overripe fruit gives a higher weight yield of oil to olives, but free fatty acids also increase. Once the fruit is picked or the skin is broken open, the fruit decomposes at an accelerated rate. When olive oil is exposed to air, light, or heat, decomposition increases until the oil becomes rancid and unfit for human consumption.
Acidity is the "most famous" parameter measured in chemical analysis. Acidity is defined as (%) grams of free fatty acids (expressed as oleic acid) in 100 grams of olive oil. Its value depends on many factors such as B. the quality, condition, and ripeness of the olive fruit. Acidity does not increase much after olive oil extraction. A small increase may be caused by hydrolytic enzymes found on the olive fruit getting into the (unfiltered) extra virgin olive oil through the extraction process with the organic matter (precipitating as sediment, dregs). Pomace, apart from hydrolytic enzymes, can also contain water, which leads to an increase in the acid index and deterioration in quality