HP-EVOO A “Superfood”: What The Latest Research Shows - Blog # 51
Hello Everyone! Welcome back to another Friday blog. As 2021 comes to an end, I wanted to take a look at some of the latest research studies on HP-EVOO (high polyphenol extra-virgin olive oil) and how it can benefit our health. Due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties along with its fatty acid content, EVOO is considered a “superfood” and a “functional food”. In the journal Antioxidants, the definition of a functional food: “food products can only be considered functional if together with the basic nutritional impact it has beneficial effects on one or more functions of the human organism, thus either improving the general and physical conditions or/and decreasing the risk of diseases evolution.”
Researchers are realizing the tremendous benefits of specific polyphenols in EVOO, and are even extracting some to target and treat existing diseases. So, what are the qualifications to be considered EVOO?
In this article they looked at the quality and bioactive compounds of EVOO and noted the requirements:
- Background: It has to be obtained using exclusively mechanical procedures, its free acidity cannot be greater than 0.8%, it must not show sensory defects, and it has to possess a fruity taste.
- Methods: All these characteristics are key factors to EVOO quality, thus the chemical composition of these many health-promoting compounds, such as unsaturated fatty acids (which are also the major compounds, especially oleic acid), as well as minor components such as tocopherols (vitamin E) or phenolic compounds (which behave as natural antioxidants) must be preserved.
- Results: Due to the presence of all these compounds, the daily consumption of EVOO entails health benefits such as cardioprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor properties or acting as regulator of the intestinal microbiota, among others.
- Conclusions: Taking all together, conserving EVOO chemical composition is essential to preserve its properties, so it is worth to control certain factors during storage like exposure to light, temperature, oxygen presence or the chosen packaging material, to maintain its quality and extend its shelf-life until its consumption.
They stated that “high consumption” due to its anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulating and antioxidant properties is related to a low risk for the following:
- Cancer - colon, breast, skin. Protects from cellular damage
- CVD - cardiovascular disease/coronary artery disease
- Alzheimer’s - dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases
- Arthritis - EVOO + exercise protects cartilage
- Gut dysbiosis - positive effects on gut microbiota (up to 60% absorbed in small intestine. Selectively anti-microbial.
- DNA damage/gene regulation - More specific studies have also related EVOO treatment with positive gene regulation and with micro ribonucleic acid (miRNA) modulation of target genes associated with synaptic plasticity as well as to motor and cognitive behavior
- Metabolic diseases - type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, thyroid…
One of the largest nutritional studies ever conducted in Spain is the PREDIMED trial (prevention through MED, in Spanish). They looked at the effects on prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) when following a Mediterranean diet supplemented with EVOO, vs nuts. “This project groups together different studies, which have brought to light several positive consequences: reduction of CVD risk, reduction of C-reactive protein, reduction of atrial fibrillation, prevention of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, reduction of diastolic blood pressure, higher protection against breast cancer or lower prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty acid liver disease.”
Another study looked at treating mice with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) using EVOO. At 6 months of age, mice were given EVOO with their chow x 6 months, vs control that only received chow. “Our findings demonstrate that EVOO directly improves synaptic activity, short-term plasticity, and memory while decreasing tau neuropathology in the hTau mice. These results strengthen the healthy benefits of EVOO and further support the therapeutic potential of this natural product not only for AD but also for primary tauopathies.” This demonstrates that high polyphenol EVOO possesses neuroprotective properties, enhances neuronal communication, short-term memory, plasticity of brain, preventing AD and other dementia-related diseases.
EVOO is considered “the elixir of the youth and health” by the ancient Greeks. Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the MICOIL study using early harvest Greek HP-EVOO as a therapeutic pharmaceutical natural compound in elders with MCI (mild cognitive impairment). Older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (AMCI) is considered pre-Alzheimer’s. “It is characterized by memory loss and inability to execute very complex activities of daily living.” They compared the MD (Mediterranean diet) supplemented with (1) HP-EVOO, (2) MP-EVOO (medium-polyphenol), or (3) just the MD without supplementation. At 12 months out, they found that the higher polyphenols, the better outcome in nearly all cognitive domains. Group 1 did better than groups 2 and 3, and group 2 did better than group 3. No other study has evaluated HP-EVOO effects on elders with MCI in this detail.
A study published in the International Journal of Cardiology, March 2021 looked at the post-prandial (after meal) effects of HP-EVOO on endothelial function (EF) in adults at risk for type 2 diabetes. They noted HP-EVOO “acutely enhanced EF in the study cohort, whereas refined olive oil did not.” The endothelium is the lining of our blood vessels. This demonstrates the protective role of HP-EVOO in preventing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, even when you have a metabolic disorder!!!
There is ongoing and “current research on beneficial effect of EVOO, in particular in conjunction with Mediterranean style diets, is being focused on defining its effects on newer cardiovascular risk factors, such as inflammation, oxidative stress, coagulation, platelet aggregation, fibrinolysis, endothelial function or lipids or on the modulation of the conditions which predispose people to cardiovascular events, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes mellitus.”
HP-EVOO raw and taken in daily at a dose of 2-4T, in addition to eating a Mediterranean diet and moderate exercise, can PREVENT and even REVERSE damage to the liver, cardiovascular, immune, digestive, neurological and literally every organ system in the body. When choosing your oil, look for the highest polyphenol count! Make sure to include detoxifying foods, like cruciferous, brightly colored vegetables and low-glycemic fruits! Eat the rainbow!
So, until next time my friends, drink, drizzle, digest HP-EVOO, eat wild-caught fatty fish rich in Omega 3s, eat organic, get plenty of sunshine + supplement vitamin D, get your trace minerals, eat foods high in lutein, drink lots of water, get a good pre/probiotic, exercise your body and mind, add a few minutes of mindful meditation to your day to combat stress, get plenty of sleep and...turn off the light!! #EVOO