What are polyphenols and what are their benefits in olive oil?

A light spicy bitter aftertaste feeling in the throat usually accompanies a high quality extra virgin olive oil. This feeling arises from a type of antioxidants called polyphenols.

Polyphenols are a type of antioxidants encountered in extra virgin olive oil. Like other antioxidants, polyphenols fight oxidative stress and diseases related to heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and certain types of cancer.

Polyphenols have anti-aging properties, as well as having powerful anti-inflammatory properties too. A recent study showed that the extra virgin olive oil containing a specific phenol compound called oleocanthal, which acts similar to the substance ibuprofen in the body. This shows the potential for the ability of olive oil to help reduce the risk of stroke. It is believed that two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day is enough to provide these anti-inflammatory benefits.

There are several factors that contribute to polyphenols content rates in olive oil. The early harvest olives (unripe) usually contain more polyphenols than late harvest (mature) olives. Also the older an olive oil gets and more bad maintained is, fewer polyphenols will has, due to oxidation. Finally, the quality of the olive oil itself is important, the more refined it is, the fewer phenols containing.

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