May 31, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated May 31, 2021
Is olive oil high in polyphenols?
Since the European Commission issued the EU Health Claim Regulation 432–2012 focusing on health claims made on food other than those referring to the reduction of disease risks, new debates regarding phenolic compounds in olive oil have been surfacing.
Olive oil has been enjoying unparalleled acclaim and recognition since antiquity. New marketing techniques and surges might have been over evaluating the benefits of this oil.
To put things in perspective, olive oil is not a medicine or a cure; yet, some compounds in this fluid are beneficial for overall health and can assist in maintaining good health condition which in turn might be a significant course-changing factor if you get ill.
Whether you are health nuts or just a health-conscious individual, you definitely need to know about this emerging labeling and subsequent results on marketing trends, misuse of scientific data, and the real benefits for you as an olive oil consumer.
Polyphenols in olive oil
Polyphenols are a number of naturally occurring organic compounds found in plants. They are made up of smaller molecules called phenols. They include flavonoids, tannic acid, and ellagitannin.
They are reactive towards oxidation and hence they are primarily treated as antioxidants.
We have been talking about fats in olive oil and other compounds, but what are polyphenols in olive oil?
Research suggests that olive oil has at least around 30 types of polyphenols. Among these, we can find oleacein, tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, and oleocanthal.
High polyphenol olive oil and potential benefits:
The European Union Health Claim labeling states that: “Olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress. The claim may be used only for olive oil, containing at least 5 mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (e.g. oleuropein complex and tyrosol) per 20 g of olive oil. In order to bear the claim information shall be given to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 20 g of olive oil.”
A rich body of literature has been put together, during recent years, concerning the pharmaceutical and therapeutic effects of olive oil and specific compounds.
As revealed by the European Commission, high polyphenols in olive oil assist in protecting blood lipids from oxidative stress. They deter the damage that might harm body cells. They have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Various studies on the Mediterranean diet have been associating good heart health with the consumption of olive oil. Monounsaturated fats and polyphenols are the main compounds in this liquid that are responsible for lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar.
These compounds have antioxidant properties; they protect against free radicals and cell damage. That’s why; a few studies have linked consumption of a diet with high polyphenols to lower risks of neurodegenerative diseases. Studies on patients and people with genetic risks of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's proved such claims.
Which olive oil is highest in polyphenols?
Polyphenols make significant changes to the flavor of olive oil. The more polyphenols are found in the oil the more pungent, astringent, and bitter the oil would be. This would make you draw faces as not all people can tolerate a bitter or pungent taste, but rest assured that these flavors once mixed with those of other ingredients won’t be detected anymore.
That being said, the question remains which olive oil is highest in polyphenols? Well, if you have been familiar with olive oil tasting you would definitely know that the flavors we have been talking about are a defining characteristic of extra virgin olive oil.
Polyphenols can be lost during the refining process. That’s why; regular and extra light varieties of this golden fluid do not contain sufficient amounts of phenols.
The labeling exists only inside the EU; companies might display a certificate of the label if they wish so. I other areas producers can also issue a certificate of analysis for the contents of their oils. Here you can check the contents of phenols.
But if none of the above is available, simply keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil is the best choice to go for if you are looking for high polyphenol contents.
Besides, those compounds tend to be lost over time, so you might want to consider that before judging the oil you are buying.