Understanding High Phenolic Olive Oil
High Phenolic Olive Oils are those Olive Oils that contain a large percentage of phenolic compounds, called polyphenols that are directly related to the health benefits of olive oil.
According to the EU Health Claim Labeling Regulation (432/2012), the claim may be used only for olive oil which contains at least 5mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (e.g. oleuropein complex and tyrosol) each 20g of olive oil.
The beneficial effect for the customers is obtained with a daily intake of 20g of olive oil (2tbs). This daily intakeof high phenolic olive oil contributes to the defense of blood lipids from oxidative stress. UC Davis, Harvard University and many other research centers in the world embrace this idea and have backed it up with many researches within the last ten years.
Polyphenol -- abundant Olive Oils have been found to help:
· lower blood pressure
· protect the arteries from damage
· lower bad cholesterol
· decrease the risk for type II diabetes
· prevent many types of cancer
· prevent strokes
· fight premature aging
· decrease the risk for depression and dementia
· slow the progression of Alzheimer's around 40%
· decrease inflammations in the body
What are the phenolic chemicals?
These are the organic chemicals that are the by-products of plant synthesis and are known as phytochemicals. Polyphenols are regarded for their health promoting properties and are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans, beverages (coffee, tea and wine)fats (olive oil) as well as in spices.
But, there are phenolic substances unique to olive oil that just occur during the malaxation procedure. There are 36 known phenolic compounds in olive oil. The two most widely researched for their health protective benefits are Oleocanthal and Oleacein which are famous for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
The existence of Oleocanthalis indicated by the peppery effect on the back of the throat sometimes causing a cough reflex. Oleacein is known by the bitterness on the tongue. For people accustomed to purchasing olive oils from the super market, these characteristics of pepperiness and bitterness are often mistaken as a defect in the olive oil.
Phenolic content vary according to soil condition and weather patterns, olive variety, time of harvest (fruit maduration stage - the greener the olives the higher the phenolic content), milling procedures, etc..
For example, bio-diversity inside the grove adds to the richness of the soil and the nutrition available to the olive fruit. Rains, storms or drought have greater or lesser impact on phenolic content and amount of olive oil produced depending on if they occur during olive fruit maturation.
For you the purchaser:
If you are purchasing a high phenolic olive oil for its health benefits, you should treate it as a food supplement, you have to consume it daily and preferably raw in your foods and salads. If you want to cook or fry with olive oil you can use a more affordable Extra Virgin Olive Oil and keep you high phenolic EVOO for your daily self-care ritual.
It is advised to utilize it right away, before the Best Before date. Once it is opened it is critical to take care of it so as to lessen the reduction of the phenolic content and preserve the integrity of its own health benefits.
Light, heat, air and time are the enemies of any olive oil. Storing olive oil in a cool (15-18oC) dark place will prolong its qualities of extra virginity and high quality articles.
That means save it in small tinted bottles 250--1000ml out of the light at a cool place and don't leave it from the stove while cooking.
Close the bottle well after each use. Phenolic compounds will simply evaporate from an open jar in a short period of time. Remember that high phenolic EVOO's cost more than the majority of olive oils found in the market as a result of special cultivation, harvest and grinding procedures that raise the labor price.
Let us clear this out:"Top Phenolic Olive Oil" is not an official EU Olive Oil Category since it is contained in the category"Extra Virgin Olive Oil". The term"High Phenolic Olive Oil" is used only to indicate that these extra virgin olive oils contain more than 250mg/kg of total phenolic compounds.
We have started to discover and study high phenolic olive oils the last decade thanks to some visionary olive oil manufacturers (and college professors), that have taken risks to do things differently, to go against generations of old traditions and create olive oil of superior quality; an olive oil measurably different and more beneficial to humanity. They all have a story and they are pleased to share it.
- Neil Naran