You may well already know just how good premium olive oil is for your health, but do you know exactly why that is?
Also known as liquid gold (and for good reason!), extra virgin olive oil is very high in monounsaturated fat (the kind that’s good for you, so great news there) but it also has polyphenols in it that makes the oil incredibly good for our health.
These are naturally occurring micronutrients that are found in plants, which help to give the plants their colour but also protect them… and when you add these plants to your diet, you’re getting all the associated health benefits as well. What could be better?
Polyphenols serve as antioxidants and can help prevent damage to your cells from the free radicals floating about as a result of smoking, pollution, certain foods and so on… and it’s thought that they can act as anti-inflammatories, as well.
Interestingly, a recent study found that using extra virgin olive oil to cook vegetables in can actually help draw out the polyphenols in the veggies themselves when the sofrito method is used.
This is a popular Mediterranean way of cooking in the preparation of a light sauce with onion, tomato and garlic, which apparently contains 40 different phenolic compounds and has a high content of carotenoids… and is associated with reduced cardiovascular risk and insulin sensitivity.
Food science professor at the University of Barcelona Rosa Maria Lamuela-Raventos was quoted by the Olive Oil times as saying: “There is an exchange of polyphenols during cooking, some more apolar from vegetables go to the oil fraction, while some from the oil are absorbed by the vegetables.
“In this paper we observed that some of the polyphenols from the tomato, onion and garlic were moving to the oil fraction, being more bio-accessible, so easier to be absorbed.”
So there you have it! Now you know some of the science behind why olive oil is just so very good for you!