How Polyphenol Rich Extra Virgin Olive Oil Looks After Your Mental Health As Well As Protecting Against Heart Disease
Updated January 24th 2022
The contribution of extra virgin olive oil to our pursuit of mental wellness is huge. It’s a major component of the Mediterranean diet which is widely considered the best way to eat for overall health and longevity.
Among the well-known and proven health advantages of extra virgin olive oil include its ability to help boost the immune system, increase bone density, prevent heart disease, and reduce risk of diabetes.
Olive Oil, Wellness and Longevity Zones
Another equally important benefit of a high quality extra virgin olive oil is its contribution to good brain health and mental well-being. As a key part of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil may be why people who live in longevity zones like Ikaria, Greece rarely suffer from depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
When participants in a large study called “The SUN Project” replaced these less healthy vegetable oils with olive oil, their risk of depression plummeted by almost 50%. Here’s a look at some of the ways olive oil helps keep the brain healthy and protected against future degeneration.
It’s a major component of the Mediterranean diet which is widely considered the best way to eat for overall health and longevity. Some of the well-known health advantages of olive oil include its ability to help boost the immune system, increase bone density, prevent heart disease, and reduce risk of diabetes.
But another equally important benefit of olive oil is its contribution to good brain health and mental well-being. As a key part of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil may be why people who live in longevity zones like Ikaria, Greece rarely suffer from depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
When participants in a large study called “The SUN Project” replaced these less healthy vegetable oils with olive oil, their risk of depression plummeted by almost 50%.
Here’s a look at some of the ways olive oil helps keep the brain healthy and protected against future degeneration.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is High In Mental Wellness-boosting Polyphenols
Your brain uses a lot of oxygen — 20% of your total intake. This makes it especially vulnerable to oxidation caused by free radicals. If you’ve ever seen a cut apple turn brown or an old car get rusty, you’ve seen oxidation at work. A similar process happens in the cells of your brain.
Olive oil is particularly high in natural antioxidants called polyphenols. The health benefits of olive oil are believed to be largely due to its high level of polyphenols.
Olive oil contains over 30 phenolic compounds that are potent antioxidants and free radical scavengers. Polyphenols also play an important role in keeping bottled olive oil fresh.
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.
The Polyphenols In Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil
As we have reported, this year’s harvest has produced a low acidity level of 0.2% together with the highest level of polyphenol count yet seen in our extra virgin olive oil.
|3,4 DHPEA-EDA||85 mg/kg|
|Ligstroside aglycone (p, HPEA-EA)||20 mg/kg|
|Oleuropein aglycone (3,4 DHPEA-EA)||71 mg/kg|
|Oleocanthal p, HPEA-EDA||65 mg/kg|
|Polyphenols Total||644 mg/kg|
Hydroxytyrosol is hydrophilic, and absorbed in a dose-dependent manner in humans, with absorption occurring in the small intestine and colon. Uniquely, hydroxytyrosol is the only polyphenol which is able to cross the blood brain barrier, which allows it to have a significant action to scavenge free radicals in the nervous system.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Contains Essential Vitamins
Olive oil is a significant source of vitamins E and K, two vitamins with proven brain health benefits:
Vitamin E helps prevent mental decline as we age. It’s an effective antioxidant which protects the brain from free radical damage. Vitamin E, especially in the presence of vitamin C, helps to maintain a good memory, slow memory loss, and significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Vitamin E can minimize the damage caused by a stroke by redirecting blood supply around the stricken area after the event.
Vitamin K is found mainly in green leafy vegetables.If you don’t eat as many of these as you should, you can get the vitamin K you need from olive oil. Vitamin K helps keep your brain sharp as you age and boosts your brain processing speed.
It can improve your ability to remember words, a big problem for many of us as we get older. Vitamin K is thought to play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s since patients are often found to be deficient.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Decreases Risk Of Depression
One of the most unexpected benefits of olive oil is that it can reduce the risk of depression.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with unhealthy trans fats from fast food, processed food, and vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, soy, and safflower which are extracted with heat and chemical solvents.
When participants in a large study called The SUN Project replaced these less healthy vegetable oils with olive oil, their risk of depression plummeted by almost 50%.
Researchers concluded that the more trans fats consumed, the higher the risk of depression.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Increases Brain-Boosting Chemicals
Another surprising benefit of olive oil is that it boosts levels of two critical brain chemicals, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF).
These compounds encourage the formation and repair of brain cells. BDNF is a protein that stimulates new brain cell formation.BDNF can offset the negative effects of stress on the brain; low levels are associated with depression.
Nerve growth factor enhances the growth, repair, and signaling of sensory nerve cells which are responsible for transmitting information, such as sight and sound.
Additionally, monounsaturated fats — the kind found in olive oil — increase levels of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter of memory and learning.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil helps Protect The Brain From Degenerative Diseases
The last brain health benefit of olive oil is that it can ward off cognitive decline. Higher intake of monounsaturated fats improves memory and other cognitive functions in seniors.
Eating a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40% and boost mental wellness.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is An Essential Part Of The MIND Diet.
This variation of the Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by an impressive 53%.
If you’ve ever eaten olive oil and noticed that it made the back of your throat itch, that sensation was caused by a naturally occurring compound called oleocanthal.
Oleocanthal is an anti-inflammatory polyphenol that can cross the blood-brain barrier to clear the brain of the beta-amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer’s.
The vitamin E in olive oil has also been found to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Source: The MIND Diet: Eating for a Healthy Brain (detailed guide)