Many people ask us, “Is olive oil the best polyphenol source available!  Many doctors, including cardiologists, are encouraging their patients to “add more polyphenols to their diet.”  But why? Where do you find them?  And, which source is best for you?

Why Olive Oil?

The answers lie in the science and chemistry of the different polyphenol sources and in the question,  “what does your body need?”  Let’s start with the science first.  The highest polyphenol levels per serving size are typically found in berries, olives, fruit, nuts and some vegetables.  Olives are very high in glycides (which includes oleuropein) and polyphenols (which includes natural hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol).1

What does the Research Show?

Because olive oil and the olive fruit industry is important in Europe, a tremendous about of research has been performed on this versatile and powerful fruit.  In addition, significant medical research shows the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.  By combining  glycides, polyphenols with flavanoids, the consumer gets a powerful mix of benefits from these anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory rich polyphenols.  The anti-inflammatory benefits also include: cardiovascular function improvement, reduction in joint pain and stiffness, improved immunological response and even anti-cancer properties.

In addition, there are sources of enriched olive oil or super-enriched polyphenol olive oils that contain high levels of naturally produced, hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol.

But what about you?

But are these good for you?   That depends.  For example, people with iron deficiency (low iron levels) which may sometimes occur in pregnant women, might avoid polyphenols altogether.  Or they should be sure to add more iron into their diets to compensate.  It might be more related to the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the olive oil rather than the polyphenol itself.2     Never-the-less, you should consult your dietician or physician in any case with an iron deficiency condition. Also, some researchers have found that very high levels of resveratrol, a polyphenol found in grapes, berries and peanuts is also an anti-oxidant that can potentially cause damage to the kidneys – again – at very levels.3 *

The combination of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties in olive oil make it a well balanced source of polyphenols for most people!  Read more about polyphenol-enriched extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

References:

1.“Potential Health Benefits of Olive Oil and Plant Polyphenols”, International Journal of Molecular Science, 2018 Feb 28;19(3):686 download a copy at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29495598/

2. “Iron utilization and liver mineral concentrations in rats fed safflower oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, or beef tallow in combination with different concentrations of dietary iron” Biological Trace Element Research, Vol. 97, 2004, pgs 265-277, download a copy at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14997026/

3. “Properties of Resveratrol: In Vitro and In Vivo Studies about Metabolism, Bioavailability, and Biological Effects in Animal Models and Humans, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2015; download a copy at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4499410/

Learn more about polyphenol-rich extra virgin olive oils here.

* Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.