Polyphenol rich olive oil is olive oil that has a high phenol content. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant with incredible health benefits.
In this article, we dive deeper into the antioxidant and the associated health benefits.
What are Polyphenols
Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant that can be found in various plants, including fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, and of course, olives and its by-products.
Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals, which can cause cellular damage and lead to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
Cancer.gov states describes them as, “A substance that is found in many plants and gives some flowers, fruits, and vegetables their color. Polyphenols have antioxidant activity.”
This article digs a little deeper stating, “Polyphenols are naturally occurring micronutrients that are present in plants as essential physiological compounds . They comprise a wide family of molecules bearing one or more phenolic rings and are present in many food sources like wine, green tea, grapes, vegetables, red fruits, and coffee [2,3]. It is generally accepted that most polyphenols are potent antioxidants [4,5] and may also possess anti-inflammatory properties [6,7].”
However, not all polyphenols are all the same and more than 8,000 different types have been identified. It's believed they're the largest group of chemical substances in the plant kingdom.
Why They Matter in Olive Oil
Polyphenol levels in olive oil are important for several reasons. First, they provide many health benefits associated with antioxidants. Secondly, they serve as a metric for farmers and producers to use in order to make changes to growing olive trees and producing oil.
Every measurable parameter has value to the farmer and producer. Without these metrics, we would not be able to move forward or continue producing high quality products
This image provides a wonderful example of where to find the highest levels of polyphenols in olive oil.
Olive oil is one of the most heavily studied foods in the world and researchers are constantly finding out new things about it. So far the health benefits of polyphenol rich olive oil include:
- antioxidant protection
- anti-inflammatory effects
- antibacterial and antiviral properties
- anticancer effects
- prevention of cardiovascular diseases
- prevention of obesity
- prevention of type 2 diabetes
- prevention of osteoporosis
- prevention of neurodegenerative diseases
In addition, regular consumption of polyphenol rich olive oil has been shown to decrease blood pressure, improve the lipid profile by increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) and reducing the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and triglycerides, reduces oxidative stress, inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, thus making it unable to settle in the arteries.
For more details visit this study.
The FDA approves the following health claim, “Supportive but not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that daily consumption of about 1½ tablespoons (20 grams) of oils containing high levels of oleic acid, when replaced for fats and oils higher in saturated fat, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”
We hope to see more research on the product, particularly extra virgin, by the FDA. Currently, most research is being performed by universities or privately.
Here are a list of additional resources:
How to Test for Polyphenols
The best and most accurate way to test polyphenol levels in olive oil is to send it to a lab for proper testing. The lab can run a full COA (certificate of analysis) or simply test for polyphenol levels.
However, you can also taste them. For example, when tasting olive oil it might be bitter, peppery, tingly, and/or spicy sensation especially in the back of your throat. Those are all indications of polyphenols.
Does Polyphenol Rich Olive Oil Deteriorate
A polyphenol rich EVOO will preserve longer than an ordinary oil. However, it's important to note that as olive oil gets older the polyphenol levels may decrease. This is also why it’s best to consume extra virgin olive oil within 24 months of the bottle date.
For everyday use it's not necessary to go out of your way to seek out a polyphenol rich olive oil. This is because all high-quality extra virgin olive oils are naturally polyphenol rich.
Premium EVOO is made with early green harvest olives (we like a mix of green and purple). Green olives yield the highest polyphenol content. Once harvested the olives are milled and the end product is extra virgin olive oil.
If the trees and olives are healthy and well cared for then the oil will likely be polyphenol rich. This is also why it’s important to know your producer. In addition, all oils should be analyzed by a lab.
High quality olive oil is a valuable addition to your diet. It's a rich source of antioxidants and provides numerous health benefits. Whether you're looking to incorporate more antioxidants into your diet or seeking a healthier oil alternative, polyphenol rich EVOO is an excellent choice.
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