Polyphenols in Olive Oil: What are they, and why are they good for our health
WHAT ARE POLYPHENOLS?
Polyphenols are molecules of organic, vegetable origin; they are phytochemical compounds that are very important for the health of our organism and are present in most foods of vegetable origin, for example in tea (flavonoids), in beer, red wine (tannins), chocolate and olive oil (tyrosols).
In nature they are used by plants to defend themselves from microbic invasions; for humans polyphenols are essential nutrients that are highly efficient at keeping the gut flora healthy and active.
POLYPHENOLS HAVE POWERFUL ANTI-OXIDANTS, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, ANTI-VIRAL AND ANTI-AGEING PROPERTIES:
recent lab studies have confirmed that when taken regularly they are very helpful at preventing several ailments caused by free-radicals cellular damage.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
Polyphenols contributes to cellular apoptosis, a normal process by which abnormal or defective cells (like tumour cells) self-destroy because no longer match their original DNA.
They also protect our heart by preventing cardio-vascular and liver diseases, they regulate cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, improve blood circulation and boost the immune system.
The protective role that phenolic compounds (hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and derivatives) play to contrast the oxidation of fats in the bloodstream makes them precious in the fight against cardiovascular diseases.
THIS WHY A POLYPHENOLS-RICH DIET is associated with a lower risk of chronic illnesses and early death.
A RECIPE FOR WELLNESS
Mediterranean Diet has been described as a “Recipe for Wellness” and Extra Virgin Olive Oil is, of course, its common denominator, a major nutritional cornerstone and a veritable SUPER-FOOD that offers unparalleled health benefits.
THE POLYPHONIC CONTENTS OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is confirmed by the presence of anti-oxidant substances, the same that also prevent the oil from spoiling over time, stopping fatty acids from oxidizing so the oil doesn’t become rancid.
BUT HOW MUCH POLYPHENOLS SHOULD AN EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL CONTAIN?
THE MINIMUM QUANTITY OF POLYPHENOLS IN EVO OIL IN 100MG/KG; that concentration diminishes over time, but how much of it is lost depends on how the oil is stored, which should always be in a cool and dark place.
The more polyphenols are present in the oil the richer its sensorial attributes are: they are responsible for scent and flavour, for those bitter and spicy tones that tingle the back of the throat.
That bitter taste is due to oleuropein, a polyphenol that is exclusive to olive oil, while the spicy taste in the throat is due to oleocanthal, another EVO polyphenol that has powerful anti-inflammatory powers – like a natural, organic ibuprofen
Their health properties are recognized by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and have been included in the European ruling 432/2012, regarding health claims related to the consumption of food.
OIL AND NUTRACEUTICS
An olive oil of superior quality, like organic Olea Prilis oil with a proven high contents of polyphenols, has such vast health benefits that is defined as a “nutraceutical”: this is the term, coined by doctor Stephen de Felice to describe a food containing health-giving additives and having medicinal benefits. This certifies the recognized health benefits and curative properties of EVOO!
IT IS IMPORTANT TO ENSURE THE CONTENT OF POLYPHENOLS IN THE OIL BY CAREFULLY CARRYING OUT THE PRODUCTION PROCESS AND BEFORE THAT, BY VERIFYING THE QUALITY OF THE RAW MATERIAL.
The more intact and unspoiled are the olives when picked, and pressed at low temperature as promptly as possible, the lower the degree of acidity in the oil and the higher the content of polyphenols, especially of oleuropein.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, when obtained by cold pressing the olives, without using heat or chemical treatments, retains high quantities of healthy natural bio-phyto chemicals (polyphenols) that would otherwise be depleted if using other extraction and refining processes.