We all know by now that olive oil is incredibly good for you - especially when it's extra virgin olive oil. The health benefits of olive oil are vast - however, not all olive oils are created equal.
One particular type that stands out for its exceptional health properties is high phenolic olive oil, also known as polyphenol-rich olive oil.
So let's delve into the world of polyphenol-rich olive oil, exploring its characteristics, benefits, and why it has gained so much attention among health-conscious individuals. AND we'll give you the scoop on which Texas Hill Country Olive Co. EVOO has the highest polyphenol count.
What is Polyphenol Rich Olive Oil & What Are The Benefits?
Understanding Polyphenols and Their Importance
To truly grasp the significance of polyphenol-rich olive oil, we must first understand what polyphenols are and why they are crucial for our health.
Polyphenols are a diverse group of organic compounds found in plant-based foods, including olive oil.
These compounds serve as a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect the body against oxidative stress caused by free radicals, and help your immune system. Oxidative stress is a process that can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Exploring the Benefits of Polyphenol-Rich Olive Oil
When it comes to olive oil, polyphenols play a pivotal role in its health benefits. High phenolic olive oil, such as the one derived from carefully selected olives, contains significant levels of polyphenols. These polyphenols contribute to the unique taste, aroma, and color of the oil - as well as to the vast amount of health benefits associated with extra virgin olive oil.
The following examples are backed by research and clinical studies by the National Library of Medicine. This medical journal has conducted a lot of research on the benefits of polyphnols and extra virgin olive oil, as well as the benefits of following a Mediterranean diet.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties and Chronic Disease Prevention
Research has demonstrated that olive oil polyphenols possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. In particular, high polyphenol levels have been linked to improvements in heart health. They can lower LDL cholesterol levels, reduce high blood pressure, and decrease the formation of blood clots, thereby promoting a healthier cardiovascular system.
Another health claim? The presence of polyphenols in olive oil has been associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancer. According to recent studies, "Accumulating evidence has pointed to a reduction in the risk of various types of cancer in populations of the Mediterranean basin, largely due to high consumption of olive oil as the main vegetable fat."
Brain Health and Neuroprotective Properties
High phenolic compounds in olive oil have also shown beneficial effects on brain health. Polyphenols exhibit neuroprotective properties, helping to preserve cognitive function and reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Research has shown that "olive oil phenolic components are key factors in improving aging- and disease-associated behavioral deficits."
The Role of Harvest Date and Olive Variety
The time of harvest and the specific variety of olives used in the production of olive oil play a crucial role in determining its polyphenol content.
It's important to note that both practices don't need to be applied to achieve high polyphenol olive oil - one or the other is enough to ensure a high polyphenol count.
Early Harvest and High Polyphenol Content
One way to get a higher polyphenol count is the harvest your olives earlier. This early harvest ensures a higher concentration of polyphenols in the olives, resulting in an oil with robust flavors and a distinct bitterness.
Olive Variety and Polyphenol Levels
The choice of olive variety can also influence the polyphenol content of the oil. Different types of olives contain varying amounts of polyphenols, contributing to the unique characteristics of the final product. What type of olives you ask? Olives like Mission and Koroneiki often contain the highest amount of polyphenols, so whether you're looking for an olive tree or EVOOs with those varietals, those two types are often safe bets!
Choosing High Polyphenol Olive Oil
When selecting olive oil, it is important to consider its polyphenol content and harvest date. Labels that indicate a high polyphenol level or the presence of specific polyphenols, such as oleocanthal and oleuropein, can guide your choices.
It is worth noting that high phenolic olive oil often exhibits a bitter taste and a peppery finish that often hits strongly on the pallet and the back of your throat. This is a testament to its rich polyphenol content. While the flavor may not appeal to everyone, it signifies the presence of valuable health-promoting compounds.
Texas Hill Country Olive Co. High Polyphenol EVOOS
Here at THCOC, we opt for the method of selecting olives for certain EVOOs (our more robust varieties) that contain high polyphenol count, versus harvesting early. We plan our harvest time accordingly to ensure that not only are we yielding a good polyphenol count, but that we are able to get even more oil from the fruits.
Want an example of one of our olive oils with high polyphenols? Try our Texas Miller's Blend! This Texas Extra Virgin Olive Oil is robust, peppery, and delicious. It also currently has the highest polyphenol levels of polyphenols of all of our EVOOs.
However, it is important to note that every year the harvests are different, and although Texas Miller's Blend is currently our highest (by a lot!) it may not be the highest next year - so stay tuned!
Want to know the polyphenol count on a particular one of our extra virgin olive oils? Each EVOO has a tan box on the product page with its specific chemical analysis, which includes the polyphenol count of the most recent harvest.
Shop Texas High Polyphenol Olive Oil
Polyphenol-rich olive oil offers numerous health benefits due to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The early harvest of olives and/or the selection of specific olives, coupled with the careful production process, ensures that the oil retains its rich polyphenols, providing unparalleled flavors and health rewards.
By incorporating high phenolic olive oil into your diet as part of a balanced and varied eating plan, you can enjoy unique tastes while promoting a healthier lifestyle and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Remember that every harvest is different, so check back annually to see which Texas Hill Country Olive Co. EVOO has the highest polyphenol count that year! But even if it's not the highest in the year you read this, our Texas Miller's Blend EVOO always ranks at the top of our list.