High Polyphenols Olive Oil

High Polyphenol Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the liquid gold

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is widely considered one of the healthiest oils on the market. In ancient Greece, it was referred to as ‘Liquid Gold’ because it was so highly valued for its medicinal and beauty benefits.


EVOO is a monounsaturated fat, which in and of itself makes it a healthier alternative to saturated fats that have been shown to adversely affect certain aspects of your lipid profile and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Monounsaturated fats on the other hand can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells as well as being an excellent source of vitamin E. 


But there is a special category of premium of olive oils, for which there is plenty of research supporting numerous health benefits offered. These are known as High Polyphenols Olive Oil, Medical Grade Olive Oil, High Phenolic Olive Oil or Health Claim olive oil.


This category of olive oils is rich in some amazing compounds known as Polyphenols and require a very demanding and strict set of natural production procedures compared to mainstream cheap olive oils found in supermarkets (specific olive tree varieties selection, cultivation methods, extraction process, early harvesting, temperature during harvest, type of method used when pressing oils and many other factors).


This production process including early harvesting has a higher production cost as it produces a limited quantity of oil as less juice is extracted compared to fully ripened olives, however, this ensures significantly higher polyphenols than common oils that are recognised by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA – Olive Oil Health Claim EU 432/2012 ) for the important health benefits offered when this type of high phenolic olive oils are consumed regularly. 



What are Polyphenols and why are they important?

Polyphenols are bioactive compounds found in certain plants that protect the body against the effects of oxidative stress that can lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and some neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. 


High Polyphenol Olive Oils contain a higher level of phenolic compounds compared to other olive oils, specifically, HYDROXYTYROSOL, OLEUROPEIN, TYROSOL, OLEOCANTHAL, CAROTENES and OLEACEIN which have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that help fight specific physical and neurological diseases by reversing the damage caused to healthy cells resulting from oxidative stress.


Not all olive oil however is created equal. According to the EU Health Claim Labelling Regulation of 2012, the minimum level of HYDROXYTYROSOL and its derivatives, including OLEUROPEIN and TYROSOL must be at least 5mg per 1.5 tablespoons (20grms) of olive oil for a producer to claim their oil can deliver any meaningful health benefits.



The cost of High Polyphenols - is the Price tag worth it?

Premium high polyphenol EVOO cannot be produced at low cost, so don’t be tempted by low cost olive oil brands.


Production of high phenolic olive oils is of limited scale and as it yields lower quantity of olive oil (but higher levels of healthy polyphenols) it can end up costing multiple times higher to supermarket olive oils.


There are also various other cost elements including the fact that high polyphenol olive oil producers test each harvest batch in independent lab tested at the time of bottling to determine polyphenol levels, which adds to the cost of production. This certification provides consumers with confidence they are purchasing a medical grade oil that could provide them significant health benefits.


Another challenge for producers is to adopt production methods that ensure the polyphenols in the fruit are protected, through the way the trees are cultivated, how the olives are harvested, and the conditions through which the olive oil is extracted and stored, including bottling and transportation.


For example, producers will typically harvest the olives by hand, to ensure minimum damage to the fruit making it a more labour-intensive process. High Polyphenol EVOO is always produced from an early harvest when the olives are still maturing but when the phenol count is at its highest. At this stage, the olives are still firm and difficult to rupture, so the yield of juice that can be extracted from the olives is limited. Olive oil used in the production of high polyphenol EVOO will always be fresh, coming from the most recent harvest and not blended with inferior or older oils and will be cold extracted within hours of being harvested to retain maximum flavour and benefits.

Extraction and storage temperate are also key to protecting the oil, requiring temperature-controlled tanks as well as optimal storage and transportation facilities. Consideration is also given to protecting the oil once purchased so premium high polyphenol EVOO will come in darkened bottles and will often have sealed specialist pouring mechanisms to protect the oil from elemental damage. All these factors combined contribute to the costs of producing high polyphenol EVOO and will have an impact on the price.


When you take account of production costs and the certification process involved one can understand why high polyphenol EVOO sells at a premium price compared to other olive oils. As a rule of thumb, consumers will typically find that the higher the polyphenol content of the oil the more expensive it is because less needs to be consumed, to gain the benefits. However, the value to the consumer largely depends on what they want to use the oil for.


For a delicious range of award-winning medical grade and fresh harvest EVOOs made using Koroneiki Olives from Crete, Greece, visit the premium olive oils section of MasWorth store today.


Diabetes: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) health benefits on Diabetes

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and how it can help Diabetics

Diabetes: A Chronic Global Heath Issue

Most food is converted by the body into glucose, which is released into the bloodstream signalling the pancreas to release insulin enabling the blood sugar to enter cells and then be used as energy. Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that disrupts this process and negatively affects how the body turns food into energy.

There are three main types of Diabetes: Type 1 when the body cannot produce enough insulin due to an autoimmune response; Type 2 when the body cannot use insulin effectively to manage blood sugar levels; and Gestational Diabetes developed during pregnancy which threatens the health of the baby and increases the mothers’ risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.

According to WHO, diabetes is a major global health issue and is associated with numerous chronic health complications, including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease (nephropathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), eye disease (Retinopathy), foot problems and increased risk of some cancers.

Approximately 5-10% of diabetics have Type 1 and will need to administer insulin for the remainder of their lives. Unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent or cure Type 1 Diabetes. Most, between 90-95% have Type 2 Diabetes, which by adopting a healthy lifestyle could either be prevented or delayed. Incorporating healthy habits around diet and exercise can also mitigate the risk of developing the above-mentioned complications by effectively controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and blood fats (Cholesterol).



Cholesterol and the link to Type 2 Diabetes

Cholesterol has an important role in the body as it is responsible for moving fluid across cell membranes and participating in various metabolic functions. High Cholesterol is strongly linked to cardiovascular disease but what about diabetes?

Research has linked insulin resistance in Type 2 Diabetes with a condition called “dyslipidemia”, characterised by:

  • high levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL-C), the large and sticky cholesterol molecules, known as ‘bad’ cholesterol. High glucose levels contribute to LDL-C staying in the bloodstream longer than normal causing health complications.
  • low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL-C), the smaller cholesterol molecules, known as ‘good’ cholesterol that help to naturally cleanse LDL-C via the liver.
  • high triglycerides which are common fats floating in bloodstream.

When high Triglyceride is coupled with high LDL-C, there is a greater risk of hardened arteries and therefore potential heart attack, problems with peripheral circulation called Peripheral Vascular Disease, and stroke.



Type 2 Diabetes & High Cholesterol: The Importance of a Healthy Diet


It is well established that if you have ‘high cholesterol’ you should follow a heart healthy diet to increase your “good” cholesterol intake and decrease your “bad” cholesterol intake. The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits and is certainly considered to be a heart healthy diet and recent studies have demonstrated that one of those benefits is to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or improving glycaemic control for those with the disease. The Diabetes Council recommends if you have high cholesterol and diabetes, you should specifically increase monosaturated fats in your diet and reduce saturated and trans fats.

Preliminary research conducted at Sapienza University is one of the first to directly link the consumption of EVOO (the main source of dietary fat within the Mediterranean diet) as part of a balanced diet to a greater reduction in blood sugar and ‘bad’ cholesterol levels compared to many other fats.

The findings are consistent with previous studies, which have also linked EVOO to higher levels of insulin.

According to the Diabetes Council, EVOO, which is generally considered a healthy monosaturated fat can help those with Diabetes in some other important ways too:

  • The high level of polyphenols and antioxidants found in EVOO can help diminish the impact of oxidative stress on cells caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. One of the main ways antioxidants may help prevent or potentially reverse damage from oxidative stress is by reducing damage to the endothelium, the layer of cells that line blood vessels.
  • Inflammation is the main cause of chronic disease and thought to be an important contributor to diabetes and its complications. The polyphenol oleocanthal acts in a similar way as NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen is found in EVOO giving it a potent anti-inflammatory effect which can help reduce inflammation and therefore the damage that long-term inflammation causes to cells.

EVOO – What you should consider when purchasing

When using EVOO as part of a healthy balanced diet to assist in the management of Type 2 Diabetes, it is important to choose an oil that is high in polyphenols and has been certified as medical grade. Olive oils are categorized based on how they are processed and not all offer the same benefits. For an oil to be categorised as medical grade under the Olive Oil Health Claim (EU 432/2012) it must contain at least 250 mg/kg of hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol or their derivatives.  The benefits are obtained with a daily intake of 20 gr of olive oil.

Fresh, early harvested Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is always the best option to ensure a good concentration of polyphenols. For daily cooking and baking, there are some great fresh olive oils that may be lower in polyphenols but still provide many benefits.

For a delicious range of independently certified and award-winning medical grade and fresh harvest EVOOs made using Koroneiki Olives from Crete, Greece, visit the MasWorth store today.

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