According to a study by the University of Barcelona (UB), cooking with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) promotes the absorption and release of bioactive compounds. These results provide a better understanding of the mechanisms of the Mediterranean diet that improve our health.
In the Mediterranean diet, many phytochemical components of vegetables, fruits and legumes are consumed. This has been associated with benefits for cardiovascular and metabolic health. This relationship is mainly based on the results of the PREDIMED study, which was carried out between 2003 and 2011 with more than 7,000 people.
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However, the health effects of the Mediterranean diet were difficult to reproduce in non-Mediterranean population groups. This is probably due to the significant culinary differences.
They are therefore trying to assess whether Mediterranean cuisine benefits not only from food, but also from cooking.
Cooking with EVOO, the study
The aim was to evaluate the effect of EVOO on bioactive compounds such as tomatoes, onions and garlic.
According to the researchers, this sauce contains forty different phenolic compounds and a large amount of carotenoids. In addition, its consumption is associated with an improvement in cardiovascular risk parameters and insulin sensitivity.
The research confirmed that cooking vegetables with extra virgin olive oil promotes the passage of these bioactive compounds in olive oil. In this way, its subsequent absorption and bioactivity are promoted.
The study also found that olive oil can produce isomers from carotenoids that are more bioavailable and have greater antioxidant capacity.
These results could explain the causes of the anti-inflammatory effects of tomato sauce. This effect could be due to the migration of bioactive compounds (carotenoids and polyphenols) from tomatoes to oil during cooking.