Olive Oil and Polyphenols: What You Need to Know

Apr 16th, 2020 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

What is a Polyphenol?

A lot is being written these days about the benefits of polyphenols, due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxident properties. Research is showing they are helpful to seniors because they fight everything from cancer to dementia and aging. So what is a polyphenol?

MedicineNet says this: ” Polyphenol: A kind of chemical that (at least in theory) may protect against some common health problems and possibly certain effects of aging. Polyphenols act as antioxidants. (Emphasis added) They protect cells and body chemicals against damage caused by free radicals, reactive atoms that contribute to tissue damage in the body.” So in layman/woman’s terms, polyphenols are chemicals that come from things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, tea and are really helpful in a number of biological processes in the human body. They are very good for us.

Olive Oil and Polyphenols

Are all olive oils the same? No. They are not. Olive oil that is not refined (processed) is called virgin (or extra virgin) olive oil (EVOO). Research is now showing that EVOO’s have the highest concentration of polyphenols available from the plant kingdom. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published an impressive research study on olive oils and polyphenols in March 2018; the study states, ” There is a growing body of evidence for beneficial roles of natural plant polyphenols in the human body. ”

We seniors need to know how to shop for EVOOs and how they are identified. AARP gives us some excellent guidelines in the April, 2020, edition.

  • Look for ‘extra virgin’. That variety is free of flavor defects, and has not been process or refined with chemicals.
  • Pick a dark bottle. Polyphenols are harmed and sometimes destroyed totally when exposed to light. The dark bottle limits or eliminates light.
  • Check the bottle date. Olive oils vary in shelf life from six months to several years. Be sure the ‘best-before’ date is far enough out for the product to last given the frequency with which you use it.
  • Buy from California, because it does standardized testing on olive oils. Regulated EVOO fail significantly less in California testing than unregulated EVOO.
  • Taste it. If it is more potent and even leaves a slight burn in the back of your throat, the polyphenol level is high.

So use this information the next time you buy olive oil, and let the polyphenols do their thing on your behalf.

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