Extra virgin olive oil is very popular because of its many organoleptic properties and health-giving qualities.
Did you know that fresh, high-quality extra virgin olive oil is one of the world's healthiest foods?
Extra virgin olive oil helps reduce and prevent diseases as it contains many antioxidants and phenolic compounds. There is so much scientific research done that proves numerous health benefits of olive oil consumption. So it is not a surprise that extra virgin olive oil is consumed and appreciated worldwide.
Olive oil is the best condiment and a fundamental element of one of the world's healthiest diets - the Mediterranean diet. The best extra virgin olive oils are also astonishingly delicious, and they enhance the tastes of foods in ways we never imagined.
There is so much talk about extra virgin olive oil and polyphenols.
What are polyphenols?
Polyphenols are the key component that makes extra virgin olive oil a healthy product. Extra virgin olive oil is a source of at least 30 phenolic compounds. The main phenolic compounds in olive oil are hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein. These two compounds give extra-virgin olive oil its bitter, pungent taste and have potent antioxidant activity. The best quality extra virgin olive oils have high polyphenol levels.
Why is a high phenolic olive oil good for you?
Extra virgin olive oil with high polyphenol levels are the best olive oil choice if you are concerned about getting the healthiest and best olive oil for your body.
Because polyphenols furnish our immune system, protect us from heart diseases and display anticancer activity as they act as free radicals traps. They also have a proven positive effect on diabetes, rheumatoid problems, ageing processes, liver disease, epigenetic changes and many other diseases.
How high are polyphenols in olive oils coming from the Mediterranean producers?
Fortunately, a project called Aristoil, a new EU-funded Interreg MED project, has been trying to improve the competitiveness of the Mediterranean olive oil sector while educating consumers about high-phenolic olive oil's health benefits.According to their research that tested more than 4,000 oils:
- 97% of Croatian oils have a high proportion of polyphenols with an average share of 655 mg/kg, of the minimum 250 mg/kg prescribed by the EU.
- Spain has 95% of the oils that meet this requirement, and their average phenol content is lower - 521 mg/kg.
- Greek oils are at about 70%,
- Cypriot at 60%,
- and Italian at 55%, with their average phenol content significantly lower.
- Y. Brazier, medically reviews by J. Kubala MS, What are the health benefits of olive oil?, Medical News Today, 2019
- S. Lehman, MS, medically reviewed by R. Fogoros, MD, Polyphenols and Their Food Sources. Plant-Based Chemicals With Many Potential Health Benefits, 2020
- Aristoil Interreg MED project