A study conducted for Unaprol by the Ixè research institute, which interviewed international visitors to Expo 2015, shows a basic knowledge of extra virgin olive oil is almost universal among European consumers (94% of the sample). But more detailed probing showed a lack of awareness of fundamental aspects of the topic. Only 64% of interviewees were aware, for example, of the typological variations resulting from the different areas of production in Italy and their influence on quality. The figure is even lower when it comes to use: only 42% of consumers use the product frequently. It is used mainly as a dressing for raw and cooked vegetables (87%), meat, fish, pasta or rice (67%), for cooking and frying (43%), and for preparing desserts, biscuits, bread (17%).

Drops of good health

The multi-tasking character of extra virgin olive oil emerges from an analysis of its health properties, which have been demonstrated by numerous scientific studies. That’s down to the mix of 230 different subtances that it contains, their presence preserved by the use of exclusively mechanical extractive techniques, carried out at low temperatures. New information about the fundamental health benefits of these substances emerges every day. For a start, they protect the arteries by helping to maintain normal levels of cholesterol in the blood. Olive oil is a rich source of antioxidants, including vitamin E, tocopherol and various phenolic compounds. These are all molecules that protect our bodies against premature ageing by combatting free radicals. A completely natural fount of well-being always at our disposal that can be incorporated in a balanced way into a correct regime of daily nutrition.

A beauty treatment

Olive oil is not confined to the four walls of the kitchen. Harvesting olives in the silence of the countryside can offer a special antistress experience, far from the daily routine of life in the metropolis: even Sting has organised days for unwinding on his country estate, with harvesting basket in hand. Olive oil can also be used as a cosmetic product, a practice that goes back 7,000 years. Returning to the Ixè study, 20% of world consumers buy extra virgin olive oil for aesthetic and curative purposes, with particular interest from Asia. Thanks to its vitamin content, olive oil is perfect for skin treatments, as its nutrient properties favour cell regeneration, increase elasticity and heal blemishes.

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