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What are the Health Benefits of Polyphenol Rich Olive Oil?

Niko - September 16, 2022 - 0 comments


What is High Phenolic Olive Oil?

High phenolic olive oil has its roots in Ancient Greece used by Hippocrates as a medicine. It was made from green unripe olives from specific varieties. Back then, they had no idea about polyphenols. Ancient medicine was discovered by taste and observation. This is how they discovered the health benefits of early harvest olive oil.

More recently, Dr. Gary K. Beauchamp, Monell Chemical Senses Center,  a professional taster of medicines discovered the anti-inflammatory action of the phenolic compound “oleocanthal” in olive oil.

When Beauchamp tasted the early harvest olive oils of Sicily and Greece they reminded him of the taste of Ibuprofen – the peppery sensation in his throat. He hypothesized that perhaps this peppery sensation in the throat of the olive oils might have the same anti-inflammatory properties as the NSAID. This would explain the many claims of early harvest olive oils having an anti-inflammatory effect.

After researching it, Beauchamp identified oleocanthal as being the phenolic compound that causes the peppery sensation. Diligently confirming its effect he actually gave oleocanthal its name to simplify it for us. Oleo “oil”, canthi “sting” al “aldehyde”.

Since then, research into the health benefits of daily consumption of oleocanthal-rich olive oil has increased.. The IOC (International Olive Council) has described it as a “magic phenolic compound”.

In 2012, the EU Health Claim labeling regulation for polyphenols in olive oil was accepted. After 10 years of research a Spanish team reached the conclusion the health benefits of olive oil are derived from the polyphenols it contains.

High phenolic olive oil must contain at least 250 mg of phenolic compounds to be allowed to place this health claim on the label: “olive oil polyphenols and their derivatives may help reduce blood lipid oxidation”

This health claim is what created the distinct category we now know as high phenolic extra virgin olive oil or HP EVOO.

Consuming a minimum 20gm of this olive oil every day is required.

Studies have shown a daily consumption of 20-40 gm of high phenolic olive oil such as LACONIKO or OLIO NUOVO first thing in the morning actually helps to reduce weight.

The reason for this is the phenolic compounds in olive oil consumed first thing in the morning help soothe the stomach reducing the feeling of hunger during the day, so you eat fewer snacks. The phenolic compounds help to break down the mono-unsaturated fat into fatty acids, which help promote satiety and reduced appetite

But in order to consume more of the health promoting phenols in olive oil you would need to increase the amount of olive oil consumed leading to a significant increase of calories.

The solution is not to consume more olive oil to achieve enhanced health benefits. The solution is to produce olive oils with higher phenolic concentrations. This is what olive oil growers have been doing since 2013. Most of the high phenolic olive oils are found in Greece because 95% of the Greek variety of olive trees just happen to produce high phenolic olive oil. Perhaps part of the real and still alive cultural inheritance from Ancient Greece. Greece is home to countless olive trees older than 2,500 years. They were here before the time of Hippocrates.

But in order to increase the concentrations of polyphenols the olives must be picked when green. The earlier the better. The earlier you pick them the less olive oil that is produced per kg of olives. Instead of 20-30% olive oil 5-10% is produced. They also need to be stored in lower temperatures to maintain the polyphenols over time.

This is why these olive oils are way more expensive. Especially for ZOI that is made from the Kalamon olives better known as Kalamata table olives. Now they are being harvested when Green to produce this rare and exceptionally high oleocanthal EVOO: “ZOI ULTRA”

In addition, since the adoption of the health claim for polyphenols in olive oil, there are thousands of research papers on the benefits of daily consumption of high phenolic olive oil.

Here you can find a small number of the research papers:

DISCLAIMER: You must inform your doctor or your health care practitioner if you are taking medications or a health problem. Let them know you started consuming high oleocanthal olive oil especially if you are taking drugs for high blood pressure, blood thinners, or to reduce glucose levels. This way the impact on your health can be monitored.

Two phenolic compounds stand out: Oleocanthal and Oleacein.

Oleocanthal causes the peppery sensation in your throat and Oleacein causes the bitter taste on your tongue.

Enough about chemistry. Fact is this type of early harvest olive oil is more beneficial to your health than olive oils that have little or no phenolic compounds.

Phenolic compounds in olive oil can be reduced rapidly if the olive oil is exposed to heat, oxygen, light and time.

We recommend you buy it in small containers and consume it within 4 weeks from opening.

Keep it in the coolest part of your house or a wine cooler at a temperature between 55°-60°F or 12°-15°C.

Fun facts:

1. If you mix red wine and high phenolic olive oil the absorption of the phenolic compounds is increased by 40% from the olive oil and the wine!

2. To moderate the strong taste you can also mix the 5-10 ml of ZOI high phenolic olive oil with any juice and consume it immediately. A daily health shot first thing in the morning for the whole family.

3. Add ZOI to your morning smoothie – but make sure to add it AFTER blending to protect those phenolic compound