The health ben­e­fits of olive oil were first attrib­uted to its oleic acid. Now it is now known that olive oil con­tains a wide range of bio­log­i­cal prop­er­ties that con­tribute to its pos­i­tive health effects — toco­pherols, sterols, squa­lene, phe­no­lic com­pounds and minor sub­stances includ­ing carotenoids, aliphatic alco­hols, triter­penic acids and oth­ers.

Phenolic com­pounds in par­tic­u­lar have been noted in var­i­ous stud­ies as hav­ing sig­nif­i­cant nutri­tional ben­e­fits for a range of health con­di­tions includ­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, can­cer, and neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders. In fact, these phe­nols are so sig­nif­i­cant that the European Commision recently approved a health claim for olive oil polyphe­nols because of their con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­tec­tion of LDL par­ti­cles from oxida­tive dam­age.

Virgin olive oil of the POD Montoro-Adamuz have phe­no­lic com­pounds higher than 700 mg/​kg dur­ing the last six crop sea­sons.- Concepción Romero and Colleagues

With so many effec­tive com­pounds and sub­stances, the chem­i­cal com­po­si­tion of olive oil varies widely. According to a recent study pub­lished by Romero and Colleagues in the Journal of American Oil Chemical Society, this is due to many things “like olive cul­ti­var, agro­nomic and pedo-cli­matic con­di­tions, fruit matu­rity and tech­no­log­i­cal fac­tors, among oth­ers.”

And as the wide­spread ben­e­fits of olive oil are becom­ing more widely known, con­sumers are demand­ing extra vir­gin olive oil (EVOO) that is rich in these bioac­tive com­po­nents, and there is a grow­ing inter­est in oils from des­ig­nated ori­gins with con­sis­tent com­po­si­tions.

Concepción Romero and Colleagues ana­lyzed sam­ples of the oils from the PDO Montoro Adamuz over six con­sec­u­tive crops from 2008 through to 2014. Samples were retrieved from indus­trial tanks to grade the EVOOs. They also took olives directly from the trees to con­duct oil extrac­tions and per­formed indi­vid­ual quan­tifi­ca­tions of phe­no­lic com­pounds and sub­stances in the oil sam­ples.

All oil sam­ples con­tained an aver­age 79 per­cent monoun­sat­u­rated fat, which is at the high end of the reg­u­lated scale range of 55 – 83 per­cent. Squalene showed an aver­age con­cen­tra­tion of 5,800 mg/​kg. The aver­age value for total toco­pherols was 247 mg/​kg. The aver­age value for total sterols was 1442 mg/​kg — a higher grade value than the min­i­mum 1000 mg/​kg for EVOO authen­tic­ity by European leg­is­la­tion.

In all sam­ples the phe­no­lic com­pounds exceeded the min­i­mum value of 700 mg/​kg — start­ing at 756 mg/​kg of total phe­no­lic com­pounds up to 1371 mg/​kg depen­dent on the year of the crop.

The oil sam­ples were very rich in oleu­ropein and ligus­tro­side agly­cons, and the dialde­hy­dic forms of decar­boxymethyl eleno­lic acid linked to hydrox­y­ty­rosol and tyrosol.

Hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, hydrox­y­ty­rosol acety­lated, hydrox­y­ty­rosol gly­col were the most present phe­no­lic com­pounds, fol­lowed by flavonoids, lute­olin and api­genin. Two phe­no­lic com­pounds observed in many sci­en­tific stud­ies — hydrox­y­ty­rosol and tyrosol — were found in higher amounts (an aver­age 184 – 186 mg/​kg) than many other reported Spanish oils.

Some inter­est­ing obser­va­tions made were that oils obtained from sun­nier areas had higher phe­no­lic con­cen­tra­tions, so too did oils from higher alti­tudes, while irri­ga­tion had no sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence on any of the bioac­tive sub­stances.

According to the authors, “the results obtained in this work indi­cate that vir­gin olive oil of the POD Montoro-Adamuz are very rich in bioac­tive sub­stances. They con­tain a high con­tent in oleic acid, squa­lene, sterols and toco­pherols but they are par­tic­u­larly rich in phe­no­lic com­pounds, being their con­cen­tra­tion higher than 700 mg/​kg dur­ing the last six crop sea­sons.”

Due to their com­po­si­tion in bioac­tive com­pounds and sub­stances over­all, the results revealed that the EVOO of the PDO Montoro-Adamuz is the high-qual­ity kind of fat that much of the sci­en­tific lit­er­a­ture is attribut­ing pos­i­tive health ben­e­fits to.



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