New Medical Report Lists Extra Virgin Olive Oil As Key Provider Of Polyphenols
Updated October 11th 2022
What Are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are a group of over 500 phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring micronutrients in plants. These compounds give a plant its colour and can help to protect it from various dangers. When you eat plants with polyphenols, you reap the health benefits as well.
Polyphenols In Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Polyphenols are a key component in extra virgin olive oil and are considered to be one of the best health enhancing benefits within the oil. Many of the fruits and vegetables we consume contain large numbers of compounds critical for life. One such type of compound is known as antioxidants. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants.
Why are antioxidants so important for our health? Oxidation is a natural process our cells use to create energy from the oxygen we inhale. As energy is being produced in our cells, some oxygen molecules (known as oxygen free radicals or reactive oxygen species) are produced as a by product of these processes. These oxygen free radicals can damage your cells and DNA when in high concentration. Continuous damage by oxygen free radicals, most often termed oxidative stress, can lead to various conditions including:
- Various forms of cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Wrinkles associated with age
Unfortunately, the production of these harmful chemicals is sometimes enhanced by the environment we live in. Several lifestyle, stress and environmental factors shown to increase the production of oxygen free radicals include (but are not limited to):
- Cigarette smoke
- Alcohol consumption
- High blood sugar levels
- Air pollution
- High intake of polyunsaturated fats
- Excessive ultraviolet radiation exposure
- Various bacterial or viral infections
- Antioxidant deficiency
So how do antioxidants fit into the grand scheme of our bodies and our health? Antioxidants are chemicals known to be ‘molecular scavengers’ that help neutralize oxygen free radicals, thus preventing oxidative stress from occurring. There are hundreds of known antioxidants, some of which we consume in our daily diets:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
A new report, entitled 5 Foods Rich in Heart-Healthy Polyphenols, released by UTSouthwestern Medical Center, lists Olive Oil (in particular Extra Virgin Olive Oil) as one of the 5 best sources of disease fighting Polyphenols.
The report, by Susan Rodder M.S., states that extra virgin olive oil has the highest concentration of polyphenols (compared with other olive oils) because it is produced by natural extraction and is the least processed form of olive oil.
Why Are Polyphenols In Extra Virgin Olive Oil Important?
Rodder goes on to list the many known health benefits of regular intake of high-quality extra virgin olive oil, including prevention of heart disease, strokes, metabolic syndrome and some cancers. This is largely due to the presence of compounds (or polyphenols) found in the oil which protect against oxidative damage within our bodies.
In fact, the European Food Safety Agency has now approved health claims for extra virgin olive oils with polyphenol content of more than 250mg / kg. Morocco Gold’s newest harvest contains polyphenols well above this level.
We are pleased to say our latest harvest is the best specification we have achieved, with a low acidity of 0.2% and a high polyphenol count of 644mg/kg.
The report also warns that ‘not all olive oil is created equal’ and that you should always check the label very carefully to ensure that the olive oil is correctly certified as ‘extra virgin olive oil’.
We at Morocco Gold are very proud of our extra virgin olive oil and always only sell the most recent harvest to our customers, guaranteed the freshest taste with every spoonful or dip!
The definition of extra virgin olive oil is very precise regards production methods, taste and chemical composition. To be certified as extra virgin, an olive oil must:
- Come from a single source, it is not mixed / blended with other olive oils, even if they are of extra virgin quality
- Come from the first pressing of fresh, young olives, normally within 24 hours of harvesting
- Be extracted purely by mechanical means at temperatures specifically below 28C.
- Have free fatty acid or acidity level (normally measured as oleic acid) of less than 0.8%.
- Be defect free and have a perfect taste and aroma.
It sets a new standard for authenticity, provenance, and the guarantee of extra virgin quality through our rigorous testing and traceability regimes. We work with certified growers, Morocco Gold is tested locally by ONSSA, (the National Office for the Sanitary Protection of Food Products in Morocco), then re-tested by our EU certified laboratory to guarantee extra virgin quality.
What Else Makes The Top Five Polyphenol Food Hit List?
Sitting alongside Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the 5 Foods Rich in heart-healthy polyphenols list are:
The report goes on to say that the polyphenols found in these foods may offer protection by improving the function of the inner lining of the heart and blood vessels (endothelium), increasing protective HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), decreasing LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and promoting anti-platelet and anti-inflammatory activity.
Why Does Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil Have Such A High Polyphenol Count?
The high polyphenol content of Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil is dependent on three factors. First is the variety of the olive, secondly the climate and terroir of the growing region and thirdly the actual time in the growing season that the crop is harvested.
Morocco Gold is pressed from the Picholine Marocaine, the only type of olive to go into Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil. Oil from this variety is renowned for its high polyphenol count, oxidative stability and longevity.
Thirdly, our olives are picked when the fruit is young and green. As the olives age on the tree, the colour of the olive changes to red and then black, the size of the olive increases thus producing more oil, but the polyphenol level decreases. There is a great deal of expertise within the farming community where we source our oil to ensure that the harvest is collected at the optimum time to maximise the polyphenol level in Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil.
So what does all this mean? The types of polyphenol present in extra virgin olive oil is influenced by the extraction / pressing process. To be extra virgin olive oil, the extraction needs to be done solely by mechanical means and at low temperatures. This has a direct effect on the resulting polyphenol content. There also must be no mixing or blending with other oils and no chemical additives. This is how the natural goodness and health enriching qualities of the extra virgin olive oil is preserved.
The Polyphenols In Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil
We are delighted to say that this year’s harvest has produced a low acidity level of 0.2% together with the highest level of polyphenols yet seen in our extra virgin olive oil.
This confirms the ongoing high quality of this rare, delicious tasting extra virgin olive oil from this wonderful new source, together with its health enhancing qualities from its high polyphenol count.
So, If you want to take some easily achievable steps towards improving your cardiovascular fitness, stock up on the best olive oil you can find.