If you haven’t heard, extra virgin olive oil contains a specific type of antioxidant that promotes good health and can help prevent disease. They’re called phenols and are one of olive oil’s most raved-about health component.
But what exactly are phenols? They’re a form of phytonutrient found in plants. Extra virgin olive oil contains over 20 different phenols, the primary being Hydroxytyrosol, in addition to Oleocanthal and Oleuropein. Antioxidants, such as the phenols found in olive oil, work to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that ricochet around inside your body and harm good cells. By reducing free radicals, antioxidants like phenols protect the body from oxidation, and make it less susceptible to diseases caused by oxidation. In high levels, oleocanthal, the phenol associated with the pungency of extra virgin olive oil, acts in a similar way to Ibuprofen. Plus, it’s a known cancer-fighting agent. Oleuropein, associated with the bitterness of extra virgin olive oil, is known to be heart-healthy too.
Phenols, in other words, are a powerful cell protector. If you’re used to mild extra virgin olive oil, it might be time to incorporate some of the bitterness and pungency of a more robust extra virgin olive oil to your diet – it’s healthy!
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
How do you get these phenol benefits from extra virgin olive oil? According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, “These anti-inflammatory benefits of extra virgin olive oil do not depend on large levels of intake. As little as 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day is associated with significant anti-inflammatory benefits.”
So, go ahead – add that extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil!