Extra Virgin Olive Oil is officially a medicine


The Food and Drug Administration has revised the definition of this food. It does so well in preventing and combating a series of diseases that it must be considered as a drug. However, it must be taken and kept according to precise rules.

It is in all the newspapers, that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the strict government agency that monitors the regulation of food and pharmaceutical products, which will be distributed on American soil, has revisited the definition of extra virgin olive oil as a health food with medicine.

EVOO is good for health!

Americans have not closed their eyes to the ever more numerous and solid scientific evidence of clinical efficacy of yellow gold or Mr. EVOO (as the Anglo-Saxon people kindly call it) in the prevention of lethal cardiovascular diseases and cognitive deficits typical of the elderly, in addition to than in reducing the risk of silent type II diabetes mellitus.

Perhaps not everyone knows that the daily intake of extra virgin olive oil is useful to reduce the risk of breast cancer thanks to its great anti-inflammatory and nutrigenomic properties. The Americans did not need other evidence to proceed and, as often happens, they preceded the legislators of the old Mediterranean continent, where the olive oil was born, home of the first olive tree crops (Olea europaea).

Recently, in fact, extra virgin olive oil has been rediscovered as a soothing ointment for the protection of the skin, thanks to its squalene content, from which it originates the most stable squalene (a saturated terpene hydrocarbon) widely used by cosmetics modern, but that’s another story.

EVOO for cosmetics


The FDA claim establishes that it is sufficient to ingest each day (and within a maximum of 12/18 months from the date of bottling of the product), 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of extra virgin olive oil (notoriously having an oleic acid content of between 70 and 80%), raw and cold-worked, to guarantee our body the intake of

– At least 17.5 grams of oleic acid, an important monounsaturated fatty acid from the omega 9 family,

– 4.5 milligrams of vitamin E, a known liposoluble antioxidant,

– 10 milligrams of effective polyphenols (including the oleocanthal, tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol and oleacein), powerful modulators of expression of epigenetic protective genes (which abound in specific olive varieties, such as the Apulian Coratina and Ogliarola, the Tuscan Maurino and Moraiolo, the Spanish Cornicabra and the California Mission).

Good for diet…

Although the courage to innovate speaks American, the scientific evidence supporting innovation also speaks Italian. In 2016 a group of researchers from the Aldo Moro University of Bari demonstrated that the single intake, of 50 milliliters (44 grams) of Coratina extra virgin olive oil in the morning, promotes the expression of microRNA.

It is the smallest RNA in nature that block the expression of specific genes, with anti-inflammatory (miR-23b-3p) and anti-tumor (miR-519b-3p) action, while inhibiting microRNA expression promotes the onset of insulin resistance (miR-107).

At the moment, the US recognition to properties of the EVOO is based on its high content of oleic acid and it could also happen to other vegetable oils, such as the cheapest sunflower oil (oleic acid: 85-86%), obtained by extraction and chemical refining (which involves the use of solvents), although without the precious polyphenols of extra virgin olive oil, but more stable and resistant than Mr. EVOO at high temperatures (as during frying).

To those interested, it is good to remember that 23 grams of extra virgin olive oil guarantee the contribution of just over 200 calories.

Therefore, the EVOO should be the exclusive seasoning of a balanced and low-fat diet, such as the Mediterranean one or the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), to avoid an excessive intake of calories from fat.

Healthy and vegan

Studies in support of the FDA decision have been under the eyes of all for years and show that the replacement in the diet of some saturated fatty acids, such as long-chain ones (for example, palmitic acid and myristic acid), with right doses of oleic acid and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids (for example, omega 3), strongly reduces serum levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, among the main causes of atherosclerosis. The effects on HDL cholesterol, however, are still to be verified.


Conclusively, just a little extra virgin olive oil is needed, because a mixed salad can become a more nutritious meal that also helps to preserve the line.

First we must remember that, with the daily diet, it is necessary to absorb a bit of fat, to the extent of about 30% of our daily caloric requirement. So then, out of 2000 Kcal, 30 grams of extra virgin olive oil represent the optimal intake, also by virtue of the perfect relationship between saturated and unsaturated fats.

Considering the use of oil for the preparation of the evening meal, 10-15 grams of high quality extra virgin olive oil in the mixed salad for lunch is a good way to stay in shape without excessive sacrifice.

Science of EVOO

It happens because the high quality extra virgin olive oil, by virtue of its perfumes, accentuates the sense of satiety, thus reducing the hunger that can induce to stray into the diet. The same contribution of extra virgin, according to a research by the Technische Universität of Munich in collaboration with the University of Vienna, reduces the absorption of sugars by the liver acting simultaneously on the blood sugar levels, helping to lower it less rapidly and consequently making the sense of hunger less rapid. A double beneficial effect important for the health and maintenance of the line, so that the researchers, at the end of the experiment, have really recommended the extra virgin for low calorie diets.

Not only that, oil is a carrier for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. The fat-soluble vitamins are those that dissolve in fats (vitamins A, D, E and K).

Only vitamin D can be synthesized by our body with exposure to sunlight, while the others must be introduced with food. Vitamin A is found mainly in green leafy vegetables (along with C and K). Yellow-orange or dark green fruits and vegetables such as carrots, squash, broccoli, spinach, apricots, melon and papaya (which are rich in beta-carotene). Adequate amounts of vitamin E are present in olive oil and vegetable oils in general, wheat germ, whole grains, green leafy vegetables and nuts.

Consolidated tests promote EVOO consumption

All this makes it clear how important extra virgin olive oil is for the absorption of vitamins, which, although present in salad vegetables, would not be absorbed by our intestines without a bit of good fat: precisely the extra virgin olive oil olive.


How exactly does extra virgin olive oil affect your body?

First, it keeps cholesterol levels in the blood at bay.

It therefore helps you to prevent heart attacks and strokes, as also shown by a study published in 2011 in the journal Neurology, by the American Society of Neurology.

The olive oil in fact is able to increase a blood protein, the ApoA-IV, which prevents abnormal coagulation of the platelets, as researchers at Saint Michael’s Hospital in Toronto discovered on September 2018.

Further, the EVOO is in fact an anti-aging food, rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants that fight the formation of free radicals. Once digestion begins, on the other hand, it reduces the secretion of gastric acids and therefore the danger of ulcers.

What seems strange, after having taken note of all its properties, is not so much that the oil has become a drug food, but that before it was a victim of prejudices and sales restrictions!!

The Calabrian olive tree, from the Bourbons until today



The presence of the olive tree, this centuries-old plant that turns the Calabrian countryside of Puglia and Campania to green, has been for centuries the peculiarity of the Calabrian lands and of the entire South. Their presence in our territories is so strong that we imagine that it is spontaneous vegetation, nothing more wrong!

The olive tree for centuries needs care so that it grows luxuriant and produces its fruit.

For millennia, in fact, the work of planting the olive trees, including the harvest, involved entire Calabrian families.

A secular tree

The endless expanses of olive groves are the result of centuries of land transformation and how the Calabrians are linked to this plant. The Calabrian territory has been, at least under the botanical aspect, shaped by the wise hands of the peasants who devote themselves to this millenary activity with self-denial.

What has been said so far represents the concrete demonstration that the fruits of these natural monuments have given the Calabria Region the possibility of entering the European commercial logic since the second half of the seventeenth century, intercepting the developments and transformations of the international market.

Magic light under the olive trees


Starting from the mulberry tree and the renowned silk production, we arrived at the cultivation of olive trees and, finally, of citrus fruits.

Unlike what happened for the production of cereals, the cultivation of olive trees helped the territory, to guarantee greater stability to the lands oppressed by the fragile hydrogeological conditions (typical in Calabria the floods). In Calabria, or rather in Calabria, the olive-growing has spread rapidly, creating highly specialized areas, such as the areas of Gioia Tauro and Rosarno, reaching, then, up to the slopes of Aspromonte.

A strongly man-made landscape

Also on the Ionian side, in Rossano and Cirò, there has been an overwhelming rise of this plant. The production of oil grew so greatly that, in some cases, the traditional and secular Apulian supremacy was actually surpassed by Calabria (it is often said, since the end of the eighteenth century, that “when Puglia rests Calabria produces”).


The first strong signs of the flourishing of Calabrian olive growing were recorded Starting in 1735. The author of this renewal was King Charles III of Bourbon, who assisted by Minister Tanucci, implemented a series of reforms that renewed the Kingdom of Naples.

The Bourbons

The writer Giuseppe Maria Galanti, in one of his work (“Writings on Calabria, a meticulous investigation of the socio-economic conditions of Southern Italy between the last decade of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries”) wrote:

Generally olive groves are hoed and are fattened, and the use is that each owner usually keeps or uses small herds of sheep to fertilize. Where there are no sheep, fertilizers are the lupines. In Catanzaro and its contrada the use of the ancient “trappeto” [a olive press] continues. The oil is preserved either in clay pots or in tanks made of Genoa stone ”. Evidence of the very noteworthy diffusion of the olive tree is a series of documents of the time such as, in particular, notarial deeds concerning rents or restitution of olive groves or trappeti.

Modern reconstruction of an ancient trappeto

Among the many, we report that, related to the land of Cannavà, one of the most fertile and extensive in the municipality of Catanzaro; here, the Duke of Cardinale, Luciano Serra, had planted an olive grove of 2000 barrels of oil (hl. 10.460). The olive trees, of remarkable dimensions, had a yield equal to about 14 hectoliters of olives (24 tomoli)… and the closed horizon of the dark olive grove and the gloomy air of the immense plain is enlivened somewhat by the fragrance of a squared garden of about 15 hectares. The trappeti are in the village, but the pomace goes to the old trappeto to be washed, which is a building occupying 72 ares of land with millstones 10 and presses 24″.

According to some sources, at that time, the Calabrian olive oil production came alone to represent the value equal to one third of all the olive oil production of the Kingdom of Bourbons. The enormous olive oil production of Calabria is analyzed by another scholar, Grimaldi, in his “Statistical studies on the agricultural and manufacturing industry of Calabria Ultra II“, published at Borel and Bompard’s Book-typographic Establishment, Naples 1845.

A flourishing agricultural economy

Further, Grimaldi, in his “Meridional Question, studies and texts of Borzomati”, wrote:

Extended cultivation and useful to the Province is that of the olive trees: it was derelict during the decade from 1806 to 1815 so that the olive groves, in part, were destroyed, and, in part, were substituted by  many woods. Once the trade was revived, the ancient olive groves began to be taken care of, new plantations were made, and at present almost every site is progress.

Although in 14 municipalities, the olive tree is cultivated throughout the province, of which the qualities called ogliarole and rotondelle, which give abundant oil, and celline, of which less is obtained but of better quality, abound. . In general, they are not taken care of and are abandoned to themselves […].

Fertilizers are not applied to olive groves at all.  …]. Pruning is made in  winter, in some sites it is not done, in others it gets hurt […].The olive harvest is generally done when these are perfectly ripe, except for very few owners who carry it out before reaching this point. The fruit is partly harvested from the ground and the remainder on the tree is dropped by perturbing the branches. In addition to the damage that comes from the system of cutting down and collecting mature olives, there is the other that derives from keeping them before harvesting for about a month piled up and pressed in places that are often humid and low […].

Olive oil mills, commonly called trappeti, are defective. In fact, the grindstone is a hand and a half wide and with a little sharp cut, so in addition to being heavy and slow moving, it requires a lot of effort to be moved and the shredding of the olives is not well done.

Life of the village and olive-growing

The olive oil product is 19,523 barrels, that is cantaja [a certain unity of measure of that time] 107.287 and rolls [idem] 57 and 1/3, and it is little less than doubled in the last decade, since, before 1835, the average product was 10.623 barrels; the price is 55 ducats each barrel. Finally the olive groves can be considered as occupying 312.368 moggia [a land unity measure] of the territory of the province, and are mostly in the district of Catanzaro and in that of Crotone“.

It is clear that the famous Calabrian writer Grimaldi was thoroughly familiar with the situation of the Calabria countryside.


There was a phase of blockade under the Napoleon, but growth resumed in the years to come.

Napoleonic age

Calabria began to export more and more olive oil, not only in the other provinces of the Kingdom, but also and above all in the main European countries.

The Calabrian olive oil was highly sought after by the industries of Northern Europe, especially by the soap factories of Marseille and by the English textile industries.

Cloth olive oil, the olive oil for clothes, as it was called in the Anglo-Saxon lands, was intended not for food consumption, but used for processing fabrics in factories and for lubricating machinery. This is why the Calabrian landowners were not interested in the refinement or improvement of the finished product.


Today, olive growing is the fundamental sector of agriculture in the region. In terms of income, it represents 25% of gross salable production.

A growing regional economy

There are more than 160,000 Calabrian olive farms. Their contribution to direct and induced employment is significant. The development of the crop is essentially linked to the resolution of technical and economic problems summarized below:

–  Restructuring of olive groves

– Conservation of part of the plants to meet environmental and landscape needs.

– Removal of old plants that are no longer profitable and replanting of new cultivars.

– Production rebalancing through the containment of the phenomenon of the alternation of the production cycle and the pest control.

– Reduction of production costs with particular reference to that of collection.

– Production of oil with low acidity and good organoleptic characteristics, that is directly edible.