A new study from the University of Granada shows that cooking with extra virgin olive oil increases the phenol content over that of the raw vegetable. Some in the past have thought that the cooking process destroys the polyphenols in EVO where this study shows the polyphenols are absorbed by the vegetables. The cooking method that displayed the highest level of increase was deep frying, at the same time it showed the highest increase in fat content. Sauteing in EVO showed a moderate increase in phenol content. While boiling in water showed a decrease in phenol content. While not addressed by the study, the water from boiling vegetables is generally considered to be full of nutrients and can be used beneficially in other ways, such as for soup.
They also found that cooking in EVO actually breaks some bonds that free up more polyphenols. This shows evidence that disputes the theory that the polyphenols in real extra virgin olive oil are destroyed during the cooking process.
The limited supplies of our current oils, harvested and milled in December 2013, are now on sale for only $16.95, first come first served. All these mature oils are still showing well – with good aromas, flavors, and a softer finish than in their youth. In a recent blind tasting, our Sierra compared favorably with a fresh, extra virgin “olio nuovo” from another producer – needless to say, we were pleased.
Although we hope you will enjoy our oils right away, they are known for their long life. Our oils stay fresher longer than other extra virgin olive oils because they start with such healthy, high levels of antioxidants, giving them on-going protection against aging. In the past we have retested our year-old oils, and the reduction of antioxidants over the months was only 5%. Another confirmation comes from research Dr. Prokopios Magiatis conducted on the polyphenol levels of US-made oils, published last year. The year-old oils he tested were bought off supermarket shelves; our Sierra included. The total polyphenol content of our oil was higher than every other oil in the experiment, and the results for some particular polyphenols were the highest he had ever recorded.
Dr. Gary Beauchamp is making the rounds these days speaking about his discovery of the oleocanthal molecule that he found in olive oil a short ten years ago. The discovery, like many great discoveries, was an accident. As a sensory chemist he was searching for a way to improve the taste of ibuprofen when he experienced an olive oil tasting. To his surprise he tasted something in the olive oil that had similarities to the taste of ibuprofen. Further research revealed he had discovered the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory molecule, oleocanthal. Wonderfully, this molecule in olive oil does not have the side effects of ibuprofen. Beauchamp found that oleocanthal can help remove proteins that are the main component of amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer patients. This story reveals that we are still in the early stages of discovering all the great benefits of olive oil that, intuitively, the Mediterranean has known about for thousands of years.
The Harvard School of Public Health held their “Mediterranean Diet and Workplace Health” conference on September 27 and 28 with attendees from all over the world. One focus was the role healthy fats play in the Mediterranean diet and in particular real extra virgin olive oil. Researchers said they identified two previously unknown polyphenols for the first time while testing Apollo Olive Oil’s array of polyphenols. More research needs to be done to discover what role these two new polyphenols play but it points to the abundance of polyphenols found in Apollo Olive Oil.
The researchers further found that polyphenols were much more effective at reducing LDL oxidation working as a whole rather than working alone. This illustrates that whole foods work more synergistically to produce beneficial effects than extracts of ‘active’ ingredients.
The researchers are trying to develop a simple, quick, and inexpensive test to identify olive oils with high polyphenol levels. One reason for this is that consumers are starting to ask for high polyphenol oils more frequently even though these oils are a bit more bitter and pungent. This is good news for us because we base our entire approach on the healthiest oil is also the best tasting.
One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to use extra virgin olive oil is to drizzle it over cooked vegetables. Not only does it improve the taste of vegetables but it also improves our ability to absorb the vitamins and antioxidants found in them.
Well there is more good news. A recent study published in the journal PNAS found drizzling extra virgin olive oil over vegetables that contain nitrites forms nitro fatty acids. Vegetables that contain nitrites are mainly the green leafy types like spinach, wild greens and root vegetables. Nitro fatty acids are known to inhibit an enzyme that contributes to high blood pressure. This is a good example of how whole foods and healthy diets work together to promote good health.
A study recently published in Food Chemistry adds valuable information on understanding how phenols reduce inflammation and found that adding phenol-rich olive oil to breakfast successfully lowered the chronic low-grade inflammation associated with metabolic syndrome, and which is a precursor to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It is estimated that over 30 percent of all adults in the USA have metabolic syndrome.
The study gave 49 metabolic syndrome patients about 2 ½ tablespoons (40 ml) of high, medium, or low levels of phenol olive oil for breakfast. Only the high phenol olive oil (398 ppm) neutralized pro-inflammatory gene expression and reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood plasma. So phenol-rich olive oil has a beneficial effect on both our genes and blood profiles that other extra virgin olive oils may not have.
All our Apollo Olive Oils oils have well over 500 ppm of polyphenols, and some have nearly 1000 ppm. We recommend drizzling Mistral over toast, oatmeal, or eggs in the morning which, according to the study, will help to reduce inflammation. It also it makes breakfast taste better!
A recent study out of Madrid suggests that olive oil is good for our bones. A two year study was conducted which revealed that people who consumed higher amounts of olive oil also had higher amounts of a compound called osteocalcin. It is thought that the presence of osteocalcin is an indicator of stronger bones because it helps prevent insulin resistance which is associated with weaker bones.
Another study from researchers in Athens found that a diet high in olive oil and low in red meat was linked to healthier bone density in women. The beneficial effect is thought to be caused by the high antioxidant levels in real extra virgin olive oil. Yet another reason to eat the real thing.
Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that are found in real extra virgin olive oil. Until recently, the main benefit of olive oil was believed to come from its heart-safe monounsaturated fat. However, recent studies have shown that even more health benefits come from the polyphenols and antioxidants in real extra virgin olive oil. Of the thirty or so polyphenols in olive oil, one in particular, hydroxytyrosol, is primarily responsible for the reduction of inflammation. Companies have sprung up to extract hydroxytyrosol from olive oil, to create concentrated medicinal forms of it for sale to the public.
The question naturally arises – Is it better to take a concentrated extract of a single polyphenol, or to get the whole spectrum found in real extra virgin olive oil, which is a natural, raw product? Well, nutrition expert, Prof. John Finley, believes firmly that it is better to get our antioxidants from whole foods rather than from extracts. In general, the different ingredients in whole foods act as catalysts for each other, synergistically giving benefits that outweigh that of taking a singular, concentrated extract. Not to mention that the long-term effects of taking large doses of single compounds is not well understood. In his view, it is better to consume our food the way nature has created it; it is a much more gentle and holistic approach to maintaining good health. Here’s the entire article with Prof. John Finley.
The link below is from an ABC News Health article about a recent study from France that shows a correlation between reduced stroke risk and high consumption of extra virgin olive oil. They studied 7,625 participants over a period of 5.25 years. While they accounted for other dietary factors they mention you cannot separate the fact that extra virgin olive oil makes other foods that are healthy for you taste better so you eat more of them like fruits, vegetable, legumes, and fish. They found that the higher the consumption of extra virgin olive oil the lower the risk of stroke. The study did not distinguish if the olive oil consumed was specifically extra virgin but they noted all olive oil sold in France is extra virgin.
Below is a link to an article stating researchers have found evidence that the Mediterranean diet may help prevent skin cancer. The basic idea is that the diet is based on eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and olive oil which are rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants build resistance to the harmful rays of the sun. In the US many of us have greatly reduced our consumption of fresh foods over the years, instead opting for fast and processed foods to accommodate our fast life styles. Thankfully more chefs and foodies are teaching ways to eat fast, fresh, and healthy. Something as simple as eating fresh fruit for snacks instead of candy bars is a good example of changing simple habits to increase our intake of healthy and fresh antioxidants.