What’s in Extra Virgin Olive oil and Why Does It Improve my Health?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil has been referred to as liquid gold for the myriad of health benefits it contains. Olive oil contains many different health aiding chemical components that impart these health benefits. In this blog, we will look at a few of them:

OLEIC ACID: Extra virgin olive oil contains high amounts of oleic acid. Oleic acid is a Monounsaturated fat. This is a very healthy fat for your body. Monounsaturated fats are easily digested by your digestive system as opposed to polyunsaturated fats which are more difficult for our bodies to break down and can contribute to inflammation in the digestive tract and body. Monounsaturated fat, contained in Oleic acid, is important in the prevention of coronary artery disease and stroke. Oleic acid also helps regulate lipid levels, lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol.

PHENOLS: Extra virgin olive oil is full of phenols that impart many health benefits. Phenols provide brain health benefits, improve insulin sensitivity, fight inflammation, increase blood flow, fight free radical change and cancer. Let’s look at a few of the phenols found in olive oil:

Hydroxytyrosol– Is one of the phenols in olive oil that has a myriad of positive health benefits. Hydroxytyrosol affects cardiovascular disease, promotes dilation of blood vessels enhancing blood flow, and reduces endothelial dysfunction – all factors in cardiovascular disease. This phenol scavenges free radicals, reduces oxidative stress and modulates inflammatory response. Hydroxytyrosol has been studied as to its effect on breast cancer and those studies have shown its ability to kill breast cancer cells. More studies are being conducted.

Squalene: This phenol found in olive oil is very protective of the skin. Squalene is frequently found in cosmetics and is derived from shark liver but recent studies show high amounts of squalene in olive oil. In fact, the Spicy Olive now lists the amount of squalene in our Ultra Premium olive oils for our customers. Squalene is a tissue repairer, used in wound healing. This phenol has a chemopreventive effect on some types of cancers, is beneficial to heart disease and diabetes. Squalene prevents skin damage, has anti inflammatory properties and prevents atherosclerotic lesions. There are many studies being conducted on this phenol with more exciting benefits to be announced- stay tuned.

Oleocanthal: This is the most studied phenol in olive oil. Oleocanthal is not found in any other plant or food source, surprisingly not even in olives, only in extra virgin olive oil. Oleocanthal is a powerful anti inflammtory agent and produces the bitter, cough producing sensation in the back of the throat that many feel when they taste EVOO on it’s own. This is a great sensation because you know your olive oil is full of this healthy component. Oleocanthal works in your body the same way ibuprofen does to inhibit inflammation and pain. This phenol has been shown to have brain health benefits and cancer fighting properties.

Many of the phenols have similar health benefits and it is theorized that they have a synergistic effect working together to provide health benefits. This may be why olive oil is such a health miracle. Dr. Mary Flynn, olive oil researcher at Brown University, states “no other food comes close to extra virgin olive oil for the prevention and treatment of disease.”

FREE RADICAL FIGHTING AGENTS: Olive oil also contains vitamins and other agents that fight free radicals that benefit your health.

A Tocopherol- Vitamin E Olive oil has high amounts of Vitamin E and The Spicy Olive also lists Vitamin E levels on our fusti tags for our Ultra Premium olive oils. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents cell damage caused by free radicals.This action slows the aging process and helps fight cancer formation.

Extra virgin olive is truly remarkable for the number of health benefits it imparts. That is the reason we advocate including 2 Tablespoons of olive oil a day for your health!