What is virgin olive oil?

Have you ever wondered why some olive oils have “virgin” in their name? You’ve probably also felt the need to know the difference between virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. In this article you’ll find out what virgin olive oil is and how it is different to extra virgin olive oil.

The “virgin” label on olive oils reflects the way in which the oil has been extracted: directly from the olive by mechanical means and at a temperature below 28 ºC (82 ºF). This gives the oil obtained an excellent quality, since it is not degraded by the extraction process.

olive picking during the harvesting seasonolive picking during the harvesting olive picking during the harvesting seasonolive picking during the harvesting

There are two types of oil that have “virgin” in their name, however: virgin oil and extra virgin oil. To understand what virgin olive oil is, it is necessary to look at the chemistry of the product and observe its degree of acidity. While extra virgin olive oil should have less than 0.8º acidity to be given its name, virgin olive oil can have up to 2º acidity.

In order to determine the type of oil, you must understand that the lower its acidity, the higher its quality. An extra virgin olive oil possesses excellent organoleptic properties, as well as nutritional qualities which ensure the well-being and optimization of the body. A virgin olive oil, on the other hand, lacks some of these qualities as a result of its acidity.

After explaining what olive oil is, it is simple to see why Carapelli oils are so distinguished. Not only do they stand for the highest quality, but their unmistakable aromas also transmit a passion for tradition and the innovation of good oil.

Source: NCBI

Best organic olive oil

There is nothing quite like a food that creates space in your fast-paced lifestyle for savoring its exquisite flavor. The best organic olive oil is an oil that is wholly dedicated to Mother Nature and which has organoleptic and nutritional qualities that are connected with the essence of the earth.

What characteristics does an organic oil have?

• The herbicides, fertilizers and/or pesticides used in the olive groves are completely natural.

• The amount of water used for crops and throughout the production process is controlled in order to respect the earth’s resources.

• It is made in a way that is perfect for lovers of natural, healthy and flavorful nutrition.

How is the best organic olive oil made?

To create the best organic olive oil, respect for the olive tree begins from the very first moment. This means caring for the tree throughout its growth without altering its surrounding environment. This admiration for the tree can also be detected when harvesting the fruit and going through the subsequent olive oil extraction process.

In addition, this wonderful oil must have a harmonious and balanced flavor to perfectly combine it with any kind of recipe.

The slow rhythm with which it is made generates some moments for savoring it, unhurriedly, and brings back a revived feeling of creation. Masterpieces take time. The best organic olive oil is, without a doubt, Carapelli Organic, made in such a way that respect for the earth and love for great oil can be appreciated when it is tasted.

Mediterranean diet meal plan for beginners

Mediterranean diet meal plan for beginners

There is a myth that trying to achieve a healthy and balanced diet means abandoning your sense of taste. Nevertheless, nothing could be further from the truth. This Mediterranean diet meal plan for beginners promotes unbeatable health and great taste.

Modifying your diet to achieve better health is one of life’s true treasures. To succeed you need to remember the foods that need to be consumed on a daily basis, the foods that you should eat occasionally, and those that you should save for very special occasions./p>

There are no forbidden foods in the Mediterranean diet meal plan for beginners there are no forbidden foods. The key thing is to modify certain eating habits in order to achieve a healthier life. Accompany this delicious diet with some exercise and you’ll soon see the change.

Sugar, candies, cakes, pastries, soft drinks and sugary juices should be saved for very special occasions.

Foods to consume less frequently

• Legumes and tubers. The recommended frequency for this type of food is three times a week.

• Fish. It’s okay to eat fish two to three times a week.

• White meat. Like fish, you can also eat chicken or turkey a few times a week.

• Eggs. Two to four servings during the week is the ideal amount.

• Red meat. This food is eaten more frequently than it should be: it is important to eat this type of meat just once a week.

• Cold cuts. That’s right, you can keep eating cold cuts! But, like red meat, reserve them for one day a week.

Which foods should you consume daily?

This diet contains a number of essential foods that, given their fantastic nutritional qualities, should be consumed every day.

• Extra virgin olive oil. The first step in transforming your health is to use this oil for dressing, cooking and even frying. Switch from butter and other vegetable oils to this ingredient, since the benefits it brings are truly wonderful. A Mediterranean diet meal plan for beginners calls for delicious recipes: that’s why you should use oils with great organoleptic qualities, such as Carapelli oils, so that you can taste the excellence of flavor and health.

• Cereals. Consuming oatmeal, bread, rice or pasta on a daily basis is also necessary.

• Fresh fruit and vegetables. Local and seasonal products guarantee exceptional quality in terms of their nutrients.

• Dairy products. It is also highly recommended to eat yogurt daily, or a little cheese or a glass of milk. Enjoying some natural yogurt with seasonal fruit between meals is essential if you want to follow the Mediterranean diet meal plan for beginners.

• Don’t forget to stay hydrated, drinking 1½-2 liters of water a day.

Is EVOO the healthiest cooking oil?

Is EVOO the healthiest cooking oil?

The world of vegetable oils is vast, and comparing their nutritional value is not the be all and end all. As well as the nutritional information written on the bottle it is essential to know the oxidative stability of each of them, as this helps you to discern which cooking oil is the healthiest.

Oxidative stability

Oxidation accelerates when the oil is subjected to high temperatures, which in turn negatively affects the properties of lipids. When an oil oxidizes, it gets corrupted and may even become toxic. It is therefore essential to consume an oil with high oxidative stability, especially if it’s going to be used for cooking and frying.

If you want to determine the healthiest cooking oil in terms of its oxidative stability, you need to observe the induction time that can be reached, as well as the temperature that the oil can endure without being corrupted.

It’s evident that EVOO and coconut oil are the most stable oils in terms of induction time. However, when it comes to the ability of each of them to reach high temperatures without degrading there’s a huge difference:

• Virgin coconut oil is a stable oil until it reaches a temperature of 120ºC (248ºF), which means it can’t be used for frying.

• EVOO, on the other hand, has a high degree of stability, able to reach 200ºC (392ºF) without losing its properties. This, as well as the induction time, makes it the healthiest oil for cooking and frying.

By choosing a premium quality oil, such as oils from Carapelli, you can elevate your dishes, in culinary terms, to a higher level. Whether you’re consuming it cold, cooking or frying with it, the healthiest cooking oil is undoubtedly extra virgin olive oil.

Induction time:

• Corn oil can’t survive an hour of induction before oxidizing, something that disqualifies it as a cooking oil.

• Sesame oil can’t reach 2 hours.

• Sunflower oil can last for a little over 2 hours of induction, which is why it’s not the best oil to cook with.

• By comparison, extra virgin olive oil can endure 26 and a half hours. It’s therefore ideal for cooking.

• Virgin coconut oil can endure up to 65 hours before breaking down, giving it the best induction time, but before determining whether or not it is the healthiest cooking oil, we must also talk about the maximum temperature that can be reached.

You can achieve all kinds of flavors among olive oils, thanks to the different varieties of oil available. In addition, olive oil is made up of monounsaturated fatty acids, the healthiest for our bodies. Coconut oil, on the other hand, consists of saturated fatty acids, which are harmful to our health.

Chef pouring oil in frying pan on dark stone background

What is the smoke point of olive oil?

On a number of occasions, we have told you how stable extra virgin olive oil is and how it can be used at high temperatures. However, just like any food, it breaks down and burns when it reaches a certain temperature, which is known as the smoke point of olive oil.

Logic dictates that, in order to prevent oil from reaching this temperature, it is essential to cook over a medium to low heat. However, we know that slow cooking is not suitable for every recipe. This is the case with fried dishes, for example, which turn out terribly when cooked with oil that is warm rather than hot.

Roasted potato in frying pan on wooden background

With this in mind, the safest method for avoiding the smoke point of olive oil —and one that can be applied to any recipe— is to use a kitchen thermometer. Measuring the temperature of the oil is essential for ensuring your dishes are full of nutrients, as well as being perfectly gourmet.

When cooking with extra virgin olive oil, you should make sure that the temperature doesn’t go above 200 ºC (390 °F). If this temperature is exceeded, the oil may begin to smoke, signaling that it has reached —and possibly gone over— the smoke point of olive oil.

The art of cooking relies on scientific methods to ensure masterful recipes. That’s why cooking with high-quality extra virgin olive oil, combined with tools like the kitchen thermometer, helps us create true symphonies for the palate.

Healthy and good fats: all you need to know.

Healthy and good fats: all you need to know

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, ‘healthy fats’. Applying the concept of ‘healthy’ to an element such as fat might seem like a contradiction in terms, but it isn’t. There are good fats that benefit the functioning of our bodies. Do you know which ones we’re referring to?

Part of the energy that the body receives comes from fats. These fats also play a fundamental role in the absorption of vitamins and the protection of heart and brain health. This is why the consumption of fat is vital.

Saturated and trans fats are the reason for so much contempt for fat, because they are rather harmful to our health. However, there are also polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are popularly known as ‘good fats’. These good fats are responsible for:

• reducing the risks of heart and coronary heart disease

• lowering the levels of cholesterol that are harmful to health

• preventing arrhythmias

• functioning as a natural anti-inflammatory

• leveling blood pressure

In what foods can this type of fat be found?

Mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids can mainly be found in extra virgin olive oils, olives, avocados, nuts, chia, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, some types of fish, seaweed, beans, and also soybeans.

Achieving excellent body function isn’t possible without the daily consumption of good fats. Ensure you have optimal health and consume a couple of tablespoons of Carapelli extra virgin olive oil each day. You’ll find your recipes are healthier than ever!

What is the mediterranean diet?

What is the Mediterranean diet?

As you are well aware, this diet is renowned for being very healthy, especially because it encourages good functioning of the cardiovascular system. If you still don’t really know what the Mediterranean diet is and what the best dishes are for following it, just consider Italian cuisine.

As well as being fantastic for a well-functioning blood supply, most foods in this diet are rich in antioxidants that keep the body young and dynamic. They are also a major source of vitamins and minerals that protect and strengthen the body.

The following foods go to form the magnificent Italian recipes and the authentic Mediterranean diet:

• Extra virgin olive oil. All Italian recipes revolve around this one ingredient. It is, without question, the fundamental pillar of the Mediterranean diet, since nothing else is used for cooking, dressing, baking and frying. What is the Mediterranean diet without the qualities of EVOO? Nothing, really! Because these are the qualities that make this delicious diet so prestigious.

• Fresh fruit and vegetables. All vegetables and greens used in Italian recipes should be seasonal and come from the actual region. The value of consuming foods that correspond to each season of the year can’t be underestimated for ensuring the unique nutrients of freshly picked produce.

• Cereals. Bread, pasta and rice are also essential in this diet. There is nothing quite like good fresh pasta, or freshly baked bread, to feel the essence of great gastronomy.

• Cheeses and other dairy products. As you well know, a true Italian meal involves, in most of its dishes, some mozzarella, Parmesan, or gorgonzola. These types of food are also important in the Mediterranean diet.

Foods in the Italian Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean takes in several countries around the world that enjoy a similar diet, thanks to the products that its climate produces. But in order to truly taste what the Mediterranean diet is, just have a think about the culinary art of Italy.

To really feel Italian cuisine is to feel the value of tradition. The well-known dishes of today were passed on from generation to generation, creating aromas and flavors that restore a sensation of mastery to the dishes.

To understand what the Mediterranean diet is you just have to check out the traditional recipes of the various regions that are bathed by the Mediterranean climate. Enjoy this magnificent diet with Carapelli extra virgin olive oils, and discover the true taste of Italian excellence.

Pasta with tomato sauce shot from above on rustic wood table. Some ingredients for cooking pasta like tomatoes, olive oil, basil, parmesan cheese and a pepper mill are around the plate. DSRL low key studio photo taken with Canon EOS 5D Mk II and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

What is cholesterol?

What is cholesterol and how can we prevent it?

We often talk about cholesterol as if it were some sort of abstract thing. It isn’t though! And it’s crucial to understand everything about it if you want to achieve excellent health. That’s why we want to share with you today exactly what cholesterol is, what its function in the body is, and what the healthiest foods are that contain it.

Cholesterol is a lipid that plays a key role in the formation of membranes in the body’s cells. It also synthesizes some hormones and promotes good digestion, acting as a bile acid precursor.

Before we continue, however, it’s important for us to distinguish between two variants of cholesterol. One is formed by low density lipoproteins; the other by high density lipoproteins. The first is harmful to our health because it can inhibit blood flow and trigger problematic clots for our vital organs such as the heart and brain. High density cholesterol, on the other hand, achieves the opposite, benefitting the health of our bodies. To truly understand what cholesterol is, it’s essential to realize that these two varieties exist, with their very different results.

The importance of a good diet

Choosing foods with high density cholesterol provides several benefits to the body without there being any adverse health effects. In fact, the cardiovascular system is greatly benefited, as this type of cholesterol lowers the levels of harmful cholesterol.

What foods are beneficial for your health?

The food that most typically increases the levels of high density cholesterol is high quality extra virgin olive oil, such as oils from Carapelli. These oils have a plethora of healthy properties for our bodies. Moreover, when you taste these oils, ’what cholesterol is’ is the least of your worries, since the taste is intoxicating from the very first moment.

As well as extra virgin olive oil, other foods with high levels of healthy cholesterol include:

• vegetable fats in almonds, nuts and avocado,

• high fiber foods such as oatmeal,

• and fish containing omega 3, such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel.

Once it is clear what cholesterol is, we just need to create a diet containing foods that are healthy for our bodies. Choose the best products and you will soon discover how excellent health and unbeatable taste can come from the very same harvest.

The top 5 foods of a Mediterranean diet

This diet has a prestigious reputation around the world, even though it originates from a specific region which is shaped by the Mediterranean climate. Eating the foods of a Mediterranean diet not only boosts health, but also promotes the sense of taste and enjoyment.

1. Extra virgin olive oil

A premium EVOO, such as Carapelli oil, is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet. This is because of its organoleptic qualities, of course, but also because of its numerous health benefits.

The versatility of the product makes it suitable for all kinds of recipes. For example, when it is used in a Caprese salad, with only four ingredients —tomato, mozzarella, basil and EVOO— it turns simplicity into a burst of flavor.

2. Cereals

Cereals are another essential type of food from the Mediterranean diet. So, foods made from this raw material —such as bread, pasta and rice— are found in many of the main dishes from this region.

I’m sure you’ll agree that nothing beats a delicious mushroom risotto for lunch or a magnificent Italian lasagna. Just thinking about the smell makes the mouth water.

3. Vegetables

No healthy diet would exclude eating vegetables. Vegetables provide the body with a large amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber and fluid so that it functions properly. They are key foods of a Mediterranean diet.

One of our most gourmet recipes is Sicilian caponata, which consists mainly of eggplant and vegetables cooked with EVOO and served on a slice of bread. It is an antipasto that is truly characteristic of traditional Italy.

4. Seasonal fruit

Fruit must also be included in a healthy and balanced diet. In order to eat it fresh, it is essential to understand its relationship with each season of the year and know which fruit crops can be found in the closest region.

You can use fruit to make desserts such as panna cotta. The simplest thing, however, is to eat fresh fruit in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

5. Meat and fish

Protein is mainly included in the Mediterranean diet in the form of dairy products, fish and meat. Bear in mind, however, that you shouldn’t overdo it with this type of food if you want to have a balanced diet.

Beef carpaccio is a simple recipe, but one with a multitude of different flavors for the taste buds to enjoy. All you need is a cut of fresh beef, Parmesan cheese, arugula, lemon, EVOO, and salt and pepper to taste.

These are undoubtedly the 5 most important foods of a Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet ensures excellent cardiovascular health and this is due, above all, to its most characteristic ingredient: extra virgin olive oil.

Source: NCBI

Extra virgin olive oil nutrition facts

Extra virgin olive oil nutrition facts

I’m sure you’ve repeatedly heard this oil described as ‘liquid gold’. In our opinion, there’s no better name for it. It’s not just about the color, but also about the quality and extra virgin olive oil nutrition facts. They are golden for our health.

EVOO is the juice of the olive and, as such, acquires the following nutritional values:

• It mainly consists of monounsaturated fatty acids, which make up 75% of its fat content. Polyunsaturated fats make up 10%, while saturated fats make up 15%. These percentages may vary slightly depending on the variety of olive that the oil is made from. No other oil, however, matches or exceeds these proportions, which provide excellent cardiovascular health.

• Another extra virgin olive oil nutrition fact is its energy value. One tablespoon contains approximately 135 calories. This calorie content is ideal, since this oil satisfies your appetite. This means your daily food portions will be lower and your calorie intake will decrease accordingly.

• Furthermore, it contains high levels of polyphenols and vitamin E, both of which are antioxidants that help to keep the body young, agile and energetic.

Don’t confuse extra virgin olive oil nutrition facts with those related to simple olive oil, since there is a marked difference in quality between the two. While the former has all the nutritional properties of liquid gold, the latter contains refined oil, which partly reduces the value of the oil.

Consuming two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day, whether in salads, stews or fried foods, is a great way to maintain fantastic health. Moreover, if you choose Carapelli oils, you’ll soon discover that the best cuisine is not so difficult to achieve.