Polyphenols and Antioxidants in Olive Oil
Olive Oil contains polyphenols, vitamin E and other natural antioxidants that make up the oil’s own natural preservatives. Antioxidants, as we know, slow the auto-generation of peroxides so delaying the onset of oxidation and as a result antioxidants prolong the oil’s shelf life.
According to Agbiolab (a genetic and diagnostic laboratory. Find out more at www.agbiolab.com), among the antioxidants, compounds have been identified that are associated with human health benefits such as absorbing free radicals and having a positive impact on cardiovascular and cancer ailments, as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory. More than 30 polyphenols have been identified in olives and the total phenol value is their aggregate measure.
Because the level of polyphenols decreases during milling and storage (or in any circumstance where the oil comes in to contact with oxygen), it’s a good idea to consume your oil in the first year of it’s life and the closer to the harvest date, the better it is for you personally.
The polyphenol content varies depending on cultivar (amongst the highest are Coratina and Moraiolo), depending on irrigation (which dilutes the phenol level in the fruit), and also depending on harvest time (green olives have the highest polyphenol values). This is gives you a general navigation tool if you are looking for the highest possible health benefit from your olive oil, however, if you get to know individual producers, you can do yourselves an even greater favour. All of the oils found at FRANTOI have a higher than average polyphenol value as they are harvested so early.
The highest values throughout the range are (*):
Frantoi Cutrera, Mille (1,000 mg/kg)
Frantoio De Carlo, Torre di Mossa (917mg/kg)
Frantoio De Carlo, Tenuta Arcamone (794 mg/kg)
Frantoio Paolo Cassini, Sciappau (734mg/kg) this is an incredibly high value for Taggiasca olive oil and is loved by children as well because the oil is not too spicy.
Frantoio Franci, Olivastra Seggianese (577 mg/kg)
Frantoio Viola, Il Sincero Moraiolo (478 mg/kg)
And when our selection of olive oil is available to buy in October, we will put together a case of high polyphenol content oils for those of you who are particularly interested in healthy eating.
(* Polyphenol levels were recorded for the 2015 harvest and will therefore vary from vintage to vintage depending on the growing season.)