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The best olive oil

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The best olive oil

Olive oil contains mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and a small amount of the health-promoting secondary plant compounds. Especially the monounsaturated fatty acids and the secondary plant compounds lower the level of the "evil" LDL cholesterol. 

It is now considered certain that the special chemical composition of "extra virgin" olive oil is responsible for the health-promoting effects of the Mediterranean diet. In addition to triglycerides and oleic acid, which are the main components, "extra virgin" olive oil contains over 230 other chemical compounds. Among them, the most interesting are the polyphenols, which have strong anti-oxidant properties (Fabiani et al 2021). 

The polyphenol content of the olive oil says a lot about the positive effect of the oil and is indicated for high-quality products (more than 200 mg polyphenols per kg). This makes these oils taste bitter and pungent - typical of high-quality olive oils.

A recent meta-analysis has confirmed that polyphenol-rich extra virgin olive oil is able to improve some cardiovascular risk factors and thus prevent e.g. heart attacks (George et al 2019).

Furthermore, polyphenols are able to control cell signalling pathways, modulate the activity of transcription factors and influence gene expression, which is associated with anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and neuro-protective properties (Fabiani et al 2021).

Summary of the effect of polyphenols: 

  • anti-inflammatory, 
  • antioxidant, 
  • anticarcinogenic, 
  • heart-protective, 
  • anti-ageing.

 

Olive oil (about 20-40 g/day) as a substitute for other fats is also helpful for the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome*. (Covas et al 2015, Misra et al 2010, Stillitano et al 2019) 

For me, by far the best olive oil with the best price/performance ratio is "Lo Smeraldo" with a polyphenol content of over 900 mg/kg. It can be purchased directly from the producer. Check it out: https://www.olivenoel-muehle.de, macchiaverdebio@virgilio.it.

(Hey, FYI: the author is a client only and declares no conflicts of interest.  )

*The metabolic syndrome is associated with several metabolically relevant factors such as Elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevated fasting blood glucose, altered blood lipid levels, abdominal obesity, fatty liver.which can cause vascular disease, cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.

Covas MI, de la Torre R, Fito M. Virgin olive oil: a key food for cardiovascular risk.

protection. Br J Nutr. 2015;113(suppl 2):S19-S28.

Fabiani R, Vella N, Rosignoli P. Epigenetic Modifications Induced by Olive Oil and Its Phenolic Compounds: A Systematic Review. Molecules. 2021;26(2):273.

George ES, Marshall S, Mayr HL, et al. The effect of high-polyphenol extra virgin olive oil on cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(17):2772-2795.

Misra A, Singhal N, Khurana L. Obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes in developing countries: role of dietary fats and oils. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3 Suppl):289S-301S.

Stillitano T, Falcone G, De Luca AI, et al. A Life Cycle Perspective to Assess the Environmental and Economic Impacts of Innovative Technologies in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Extraction. Foods. 2019;8(6):209. 

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