Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, has a reputation for being much healthier than other types of oil, including canola, soybean, grapeseed, avocado, and coconut oils. But do you know why? No, it’s not just healthy monounsaturated fats. This is largely due to the presence of polyphenolic (i.e. phenolic) compounds in EVOO.
All extra virgin olive oil contains polyphenols, but some species have significantly higher levels of polyphenols than others. They have been dubbed “high polyphenol olive oil” or “high phenolic olive oil”. Here you can learn what polyphenols are? & The Health Benefits of Polyphenols In Olive Oil.
First, what are polyphenols?
Polyphenols are a type of bioactive compound, or chemical compound, found in small amounts in plant foods such as grapes, tea, chocolate, nuts and olives. Many polyphenolic compounds have beneficial effects on health, thanks to their antioxidant and other properties.
Many types of polyphenols, including hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleuropein, oleacein, and oleocanthal, are often found in olives, which means they are also high in olive oil. (Learn all about different polyphenols in olive oil here).
In fact, polyphenols are one of the most studied bioactive compounds in olive oil, and research shows that they protect against oxidative stress – a type of physiological stress that DNA mutations can lead to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. . diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Factors affecting the level of polyphenols in olive oil
There are many factors that influence the polyphenol content of olive oil, including the type of olive used, weather conditions, farming methods, harvest time, production conditions, and more. Here are some great ones to keep in mind:
What kind of olives are used?
Some types of olives are higher in polyphenols than others – so require monoecious or a mixture of these olives to represent a high polyphenol oil. But remember that harvest season is also important: ripe olives of any type will have lower polyphenols than green olives of the same species. Here are some common types of polyphenols:
How to store your olive oil.
Keep in mind that once you’ve purchased high-quality polyphenolic olive oil, the most important thing you can do to maintain its polyphenol content is to store it properly. That means storing it in a cool, dark place without a stove. Also, olive oil has an indefinite shelf life, so use it within a month or three of opening the bottle (good advice for any olive oil).
What are the benefits of olive oil, which is rich in polyphenols?
While extra virgin olive oil has many advantages, high polyphenol olive oil is at the top of its class for combating chronic and other health illnesses. Studies have shown that olive oil, which is rich in polyphenols, may help.
- Lower cholesterol levels (and oxidation of cholesterol)
- Reduce heart disease risk
- Lower blood pressure
- Boost brain health + cognitive function
- Support mental health
- Ease inflammation + pain
- Reduce diabetes risk
- Help fight cancer
- Improve gut microbiome health
- Aid in weight loss