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of olive oil polyphenols

What is the relationship between olive oil polyphenols and health?

Gerasimos Gerasopoulos
22 May, 2023

In the last 2 years there has been a lot of talk about polyphenols and why they have such a positive catalytic relationship with our health.
What are these polyphenols and why are most health conscious people today interested in consuming them in large amounts?

Polyphenols are a group of natural compounds found in various plant foods, including olives. They are especially abundant in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and contribute to its numerous health benefits.
These are the reasons why polyphenols are considered valuable for our health:

Antioxidant properties: Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants, meaning they help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by harmful free radicals. Antioxidants are vital to overall health as they can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.

Anti-inflammatory effects: The polyphenols in olive oil have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis and some types of cancer. By reducing inflammation, polyphenols contribute to overall health and well-being.

Cardiovascular health: The polyphenols in olive oil have been extensively studied for their positive effects on heart health. They help protect against the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, preventing the formation of plaque in the arteries. Polyphenols also have antiplatelet and vasodilator effects, which help improve blood flow and reduce the risk of blood clots and hypertension.

Anticancer Potential: In laboratory studies, certain polyphenols found in olive oil, such as oleocanthal and eleuropein, have shown anticancer properties. They can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) and prevent the formation of new blood vessels that feed tumors. However, more research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms and potential benefits in humans.

Antimicrobial action: Certain polyphenols in olive oil, such as hydroxytyrosol, have shown antimicrobial properties. They can help fight harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi, helping to improve immune function and reduce the risk of infections.

Taste and stability: Polyphenols contribute to the sensory characteristics of olive oil, including its taste, aroma and color. They act as natural preservatives, helping to protect the oil from oxidation and rancidity, thus extending its life.

It is important to note that the content of polyphenols it can vary depending on factors such as olive variety, ripeness, processing methods and storage conditions. Extra virgin olive oil, obtained by cold pressing without chemicals or excessive heat, usually contains higher levels of polyphenols than other refined olive oils. Therefore, it is recommended to choose the best quality extra virgin olive oil to maximize the intake of beneficial polyphenols




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