January 30, 2020

The composition of Olive Oil

Oleocanthal, Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the pillars of the Mediterranean diet and not only because of the flavor it brings to the different dishes but also because of its innumerable health benefits. Hippocrates already defined him at the time as «the great healer» and recommended him in 60 medical conditions. Today scientists have studied its components to know where its healing properties come from.

What is olive oil made of?

Olive oil consists of two fractions:

  • Saponifiable fraction: it constitutes about 98.5% of the oil, and mainly they are triglycerides and fatty acids.
  • Non-saponifiable fraction: it is approximately 1.5% of the total, and is made up of minor components of great importance such as vitamins, polyphenols and other antioxidants.

Some of these compounds contribute to the unique nature of the oil.

Why is olive oil recommended for dogs?

Olive oil is very rich in essential fatty acids (AGEs). The importance of these acids is that the body cannot create them and must be ingested with the diet. AGEs have important metabolic functions and are vital for the transport of fat-soluble vitamins such as A or E.

AGEs can be classified into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Among the first, the oleic acid that constitutes more than 73% of the total oil content stands out. One of its main characteristics is that it is able to reduce the «bad» cholesterol (LDL) and increase the «good» (HDL), thus protecting pets from hypercholesterolemia problems, such as obesity, a disease that, unfortunately It affects an increasing number of dogs.

Monounsaturated fatty acids can also control the body’s insulin levels, which can help prevent diabetes.

Likewise, the anti-inflammatory properties of essential fatty acids are well known, so they are used in the treatment of degenerative diseases of the joints and bones, something to take into account in older animals or in those who perform a intense physical activity.

Other fatty acids that abound in olive oil and are essential in the diet of pets to care for the skin and fur are alpha-linolenic (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6). The first provides softness and elasticity to the skin while omega-6 ensures that the dermis is free of diseases such as dryness, seborrhea or dermatitis, etc. In short, so that the pet’s hair and skin look healthy, both acids cannot be lacking in the diet.

Thanks to its high amount of antioxidants (in the form of polyphenols, vitamin E, chlorophyll and carotenoids), olive oil strengthens the immune system so that it can fight diseases effectively. Among the polyphenols, oleocanthal is an antioxidant that works similarly to ibuprofen, that is, it can reduce inflammation. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome is a disease that appears in older dogs and shares certain characteristics with Alzheimer’s in people. Well, it has been proven that olive oil can slow the onset of the disease and even improve the memory of pets. These are just some examples of the health benefits of the pet that olive oil brings, so its incorporation into pet food is fully justified.

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