WHAT ARE PHYTONUTRIENTS, POLYPHENOLS AND OLEOCANTHALS AND WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?
Olive tree polyphenols may be responsible for some of the properties of medical interest in this plant; these include anti-atherogenic, antihepatotoxic, hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiviral and immunomodulator activities that appear only in part related to the antioxidant power of these molecules. OLE, demethyloleuropein and ligstroside, together with their metabolic derivatives (elenolic acid, HT), are the most abundant phenolics in our Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Researchers have found that a plant-based diet may help prevent, treat, or reverse some of our leading causes of death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. Studies of plant-based diets have shown, for example, 90 percent reductions in angina attacks within just a few weeks, and plant-based diet intervention groups have reported improved digestion, increased energy, and better sleep, and significant improvement in their physical functioning, general health, vitality, and mental health. Studies have also shown that consuming Phytonutrients can improve not only body weight, blood sugar levels, and ability to control cholesterol, but also emotional states, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, sense of well-being, and daily functioning.
How can one diet do all that? Because our plant-based foods contain more than 100,000 different disease-preventing nutrients—more specifically, more than 100,000 phyto-nutrients, phyto for the Greek word for plant.
Hundreds of phytonutrients have been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Six months of consuming the phytonutrients curcumin, the bright-yellow pigment in turmeric, and quercetin, which is found naturally in Rainfed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, appeared to decrease the number and size of polyps by more than half in patients with a hereditary form of colorectal cancer. And many phytonutrients may help block the formation of new blood vessels that feed tumours.
Oleocanthal, a Phenolic Derived from our Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin olive oil (VOO) is credited as being one of many healthful components of the Mediterranean diet. Mediterranean populations experience reduced incidence of chronic inflammatory disease states and VOO is readily consumed as part of an everyday dietary pattern. A phenolic compound contained in VOO, named oleocanthal, shares unique perceptual and anti-inflammatory characteristics with Ibuprofen. Over recent years oleocanthal has become a compound of interest in the search for naturally occurring compounds with pharmacological qualities. Subsequent to its discovery and identification, oleocanthal has been reported to exhibit various modes of action in reducing inflammatory related disease, including joint-degenerative disease, neuro-degenerative disease and specific cancers. Therefore, it is postulated that long term consumption of VOO containing oleocanthal may contribute to the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean dietary pattern.