Hiking up stony hillsides and between ancient trees with branches full of bright green olives reaching for the sun. It’s October and harvest time is beginning and we are dreaming about olive oil. Nature’s fruit juice. The real stuff!
There are many controversies about the quality of olive oil we find on our grocery shelves. Like many people, I spend hours and dollars ensuring my family consumes high quality foods, growing my own herbs, buying fresh from known local farmers, bakers etc. so why would you neglect an essential item that is used every day in cooking, salads, bread dipping etc.
The subject of olive oil is worth a long and distinguished blog onto its own and I can’t possibly do it 100% justice. Knowing that I simply want to present the highlights of my search and hopefully entice you enough to start reading and be more choosey about this nectar.
WILL THE REAL EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL PLEASE STAND UP?
There is a big misconception by most consumers on what makes an olive oil extra virgin vs. another type of olive grade. One of the biggest misconceptions lies in the labelling with a common phrase - “first press and cold press” on most bottles of olive oils that are purchased is more of a marketing technique used, because they know that by using that phrase you will associate the oil as extra virgin, although it may not be.
The truth of the matter is that the proper grading for olive oils all has to do with acidity. How often do you see or hear about acidity levels in olive oils? I would bet you not a whole lot. Olive oil is the only fruit oil and SUPERFOOD that contains detectable amounts of healthy polyphenols (antioxidants, which are also called phenolic compounds). Why?
ARE YOU A HEALTHCONSCIOUS PERSON?
Well, let’s get started. Phenolic compounds antioxidant properties result in beneficial health effects and the consumption of phenolic compounds present in oil may lower the risk of several health disorders. There is a big difference between ordinary olive oil and healthy, flavorful, high phenolic extra virgin olive oil! Since flavor and health benefits are the main reasons consumers buy extra virgin olive oil, we might wonder why many companies and most producers aren’t making healthy high phenolic olive oils. The reason: most producers have been trained to mass produce less healthy olive oil, focusing on quantity rather than quality, while many consumers are looking for a bargain. Sad.
LONG LISTS OF HEALTH BENEFITS
Olive oil polyphenols are
· anti-atherogenic (preventing buildup of fatty substances, or plaque, inside the arteries)
Scientific evidence from clinical trials and epidemiological studies suggests the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil may help reduce levels of glucose, “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, and total cholesterol; they also help prevent or fight
· oxidative stress
· cognitive decline
· high blood pressure
· cardiovascular disease
· breast and colon cancers
Types Of Polyphenols
The different types of polyphenols in Extra Virgin olive oil (EVOO), include oleuropein, tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, oleocanthal and oleacein. (Now you are an expert) Each are extremely strong antioxidants. Both linked to a number of different health benefits. Some consider oleocanthal to be olive oils most important phenolic compound. Found only in virgin olive oil (with the most in extra virgin), oleocanthal mimics the effects of ibuprofen, reducing inflammation. This has a noteworthy effect on long-term inflammatory illnesses and certain cancers. Recent research also suggests that oleocanthal may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Did you know the polyphenol content in a bottle of olive oil is the determining factor in how long a bottle of olive oil will last, NOT the EXPIRATION DATE on the bottle of olive oil? A two-year expiration date is required for every bottle of olive oil. However, the truth is that most olive oils do not have a two-year shelf life, for one or more of the following reasons, among others: lower quality fruit, an olive variety with lower antioxidant levels, clear bottles or other improper storage, and even over-irrigated trees.
It is important to look for the harvest date (if you can find it) on a bottle of olive oil, rather than the expiration date, because this will tell you how fresh the olive oil is. Also check the olive variety, and learn about its strengths and weaknesses, as you would consider a specific grape variety for wine. Finally, always choose extra virgin olive oil that is in a dark bottle, especially if it is on a supermarket shelf that is exposed to light.
In Conclusion, there are many types and grades of olive oil; they range from good olive oils to bad olive oil, from extremely healthy to not very healthy. Even some good olive oils do not mean they are healthy or to the standards many are seeking now. There are producers who stand behind their quality and health benefits with actual proof, not just claims with fancy words, showcasing their olive oils’ yearly chemical analysis on their websites. Search for those oils, because the biggest fraud is committed against the consumers, robbing them of the true health benefits of real healthy extra virgin olive oil, and the harm caused the producers focused on making authentic, healthy extra virgin olive oils– what a REAL Extra Virgin olive oil should be! Now that we now know the truth we can start living a healthier Lifestyle NOW!
Welcome to check out my website @jlfromwithin and find out the number one choice of Olive Oils and buy it from my website (not available on Amazon) Also, some excellent recipes. Thanks everyone!