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.