PROPENSITIES OF HIGH-PHENOLIC OLIVE OIL
The trade category “Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil” comprises of products with maximized health properties.
In the ancient world, virgin olive oil has been called “liquid gold” by Homer and “the great healer” by Hippocrates while Galen praised it for its positive effects on health. While the beneficial effects of EVOO phenols on the human body have been praised in empirical scientific research, phenolic content largely depends on the quality of the EVOO that is produced.
Due to the broad and unenforced tendencies in the ranking standards of EVOOs in the market, consumers may find it difficult to distinguish the quality demarcations and to gravitate toward a Premium classification of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Several studies have established that Premium EVOOs have a much richer source of oil-derived phenols and polyphenols, like hydroxytyrosol than mainstream olive oils (Bakhouche et al., 2012, Taticchi et. al. 2012, Fregapane & Salvador, 2013, Aparicio et. al. 2013) especially in their early harvest form (Bengana et. al. 2013). Related studies have argued that high-phenolic content can be used to segment EVOO products according to their health claims (Roselli et. al. 2017).
Considering the exclusive nutritional and sensory properties of our Premium EVOOs, we can claim both the “highest quality” and the “healthiest” polyphenolic properties of Greek EVOOs available on the market.
Specifically, AKRA MOREA© Premium EVOOs have been analysed and found to contain a minimum of 450mg and up to 500mg of Total Biophenols (as tyrosol) per 20 grams of olive oil. This analysis has been performed according to the HPLC method which is empirically accepted by the International Olive Council. This is an extraordinary demarcation, as most EVOOs around the world present little 'actual' phenolic content.
European Food Safety Authority Regulations (EFSA)
Health claims made in relation to food products require authorization under the Regulation EC 1924/2006 before they can be used in the labelling and marketing of products in the EU. Within the context of this authorisation procedure, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) is responsible for verifying the scientific substantiation of the health claims.
EFSA Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to polyphenolic EVOOs (as long as the EVOOs can claim at least 250mg polyphenols per 20gr of olive oil) are that they:
- Shield the human organism against oxidative stress;
- Act a protective mechanisms against Alzheimer's;
- Inhibit growth and metastases of certain types of carcinomas (i.e. breast cancer);
- Act as agents against osteoporosis;
- Fight high blood pressure;
- Act as chemo-preventive agents for peptic ulcer and gastric cancer;
- Control blood glucose levels, prevent resistance to insulin and fight diabetes;
- Act as natural anti-inflammatory agents (ibuprofen without the chemical side effects);
- Allow vitamins to be easier and more effectively absorbed and assist digestion;
- Are rich in vitamins A, D, E and K and wage war against free radicals;
- Prevent skin ageing and act as longevity agents;
- Positively affect blood lipid levels;
- Contain monounsaturated fats that control cholesterol levels and fight cardiovascular disease.
In relation to the amounts of polyphenols necessary to make such health claims viable, it is established by the EFSA (Commission Regulation [EU] 432/2012) that:
- These claims may be used only for olive oil, containing at least 250 mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (e.g. oleuropein complex and tyrosol) per 20 gr of olive oil. In order to bear the claim information shall be given to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 20 gr of olive oil.
It is also supported that EVOOs comprise mainly of the monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid (C18:1) as well as nutritious unsaturated fatty acids, and as such:
- Replacing saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. (Commission Regulation [EU] 432/2012, Annex to Regulation [EC] No 1924/2006).
At AKRA MOREA© we support that EVOO producers should combine their efforts in order to produce Premium Standard EVOOs ~ and as such maximize the “phenolic” and thus overall “health” propensities of Olive Oil universally.