Investigators of the University of Granada have shown that frying in extra virgin olive oil is the cooking technique that more increases the phenolic fraction of fresh vegetables included in the Mediterranean diet (potato, pumpkin, tomato and eggplant), which is a improving these foods in the cooking process.
This is because phenols transfer occurs from the extra virgin olive oil to vegetables, enriching them with exclusive oil phenolic compounds which are not naturally present in fresh vegetables.
According to the results of the doctoral thesis of Pilar Ramirez Jessica Anaya, under doctoral advisors Cristina Sanchez Samaniego, Marina Mir Villalón and Herminia López-García de la Serrana, in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, (Faculty of Pharmacy) at the University of Granada, it can say that frying in extra virgin olive oil is the technique that produces greater increases associated phenols antioxidants whose consumption prevents chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes or macular degeneration.
Extra virgin Olive oil is ideal for frying. In proper temperature conditions, without over-heating, it undergoes no substantial structural change and keeps its nutritional value better than other oils, not only because of the antioxidants but also due to its high levels of oleic acid. Its high smoking point (210ºC) is substantially higher than the ideal temperature for frying food (180ºC). Those fats with lower critical points, such as corn and butter, break down at this temperature and form toxic products.
Another advantage of using extra virgin olive oil for frying is that it forms a crust on the surface of the food that impedes the penetration of oil and improves its flavour. Food fried in extra virgin olive oil has a lower fat content than food fried in other oils, making extra virgin olive oil more suitable for weight control. Extra virgin olive oil, therefore, is the most suitable, the lightest and the tastiest medium for frying.