THE BEST INVESTMENT FOR YOUR HEALTH IS A SIMPLE STORE CUPBOARD STAPLE
by Emily English BSc ANutre -Nutritionist
What if I told you there is a food that exists that not only tastes divine but is incredible for your health? Introducing, Picualia olive oil.
We are all aware that the Mediterranean diet pattern is one of the healthiest in the world. Routed within home cooking, plenty of seasonal vegetables, legumes, local grain varieties, and PLENTY of olive oil. High in monounsaturated fat, notably the omega-9 fat oleic acid, it is highly stable to oxidation and can enhance the activity of antioxidants (think your vitamin E and vitamin C). Olive oil known to be cardio protective, supporting good heart health but there is so much more to it than the healthy fat content.
The olive tree produces olive fruits, which when eaten raw are incredibly bitter. Compounds called polyphenols in olives contribute to the taste, smell and colour of the olive oil. High concentrations of polyphenols in the oil result in a stronger, bitter and pungent taste. Phenolic compounds are formed in response to stress, therefore their concentration in olive oil is a result of many factors, differing with the region, olive variety, growing conditions, maturation, harvest time, and end processing. The relationship between dietary polyphenols and health outcomes is a topic at the forefront of scientific research. While polyphenols are not classified as essential nutrients, accumulating evidence suggests intake confers protection against a range of diseases through their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic activities.
Olive oil known to be cardio protective, supporting good heart health but there is so much more to it than the healthy fat content.
It’s important to understand that not all olive oil is created equally. The choices that you find on the supermarket shelves are often terrible quality, poorly processed and as a result, have a very low polyphenol content. Olive oil ‘blends’ and ‘light’ varieties are a mix of olive and low-quality processed oils. They have been stripped of nearly all of their natural phytochemical’s and as a result, leave you with a bland, flat oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is the unrefined oil drawn from the first pressing of olives and confers the most beneficial health effects.
As mentioned, agricultural and technological factors can affect the number of polyphenols in your extra virgin olive oil, however Picualia run in-depth analyses and detailed studies of the olives as they mature, harvesting at peak ripeness to provide consistent flavour, optimum polyphenol content and nutrient profiles. Processing of the olives is carried out in one of the most modern olive-oil plants in Europe, preserving the volatile polyphenols to maximise not just the incredible health benefits but also the delicious flavour profile. You can immediately recognise the quality from the complexity of tasting notes within Picualia oils ranging from herbaceous, grassy notes, apple, and softer fig leaf.
Polyphenols in olive oil that are of particular interest in research are Hydroxytyrosol, Oleocanthal and Oleacein
A deeper dive into polyphenols
The extent of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of polyphenols together with gut microbial metabolism has been shown to play an integral role in the health benefits associated with their consumption. Once we consume polyphenols in olive oil, they are either absorbed in the small intestine or travel through to the large intestine where they are metabolised by our gut bacteria. This results in a whole array of secondary metabolites which end up circulating in our blood. The resulting compounds that end up in circulation are vast, as it is not yet known which specific polyphenols incur the greatest health benefits.
Polyphenols in olive oil that are of particular interest in research are Hydroxytyrosol, Oleocanthal (shares anti-inflammatory characteristics with Ibuprofen and is responsible for the back to throat sensation for some olive oils) and Oleacein (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and antimicrobial action). Choosing an oil like Picualia with a high concentration of polyphenols builds confidence that you are can absorb, metabolise and reap all the amazing health benefits olive oil has to offer.
Finishing a dish with a Picualia olive oil will not only enhance the taste of your meal but fuel you with the healthiest fats, increase absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K, provide a high dose of anti-inflammatory polyphenols and even support your gut health.