`El Picual

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El Picual

Jan. 30, 2012
Olivarama

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Not just sci­ence proves its excep­tional prop­er­ties, so do the hon­ourable awards acknowl­edg­ing research and defense of the organic sec­tor every year. With­out a doubt, organic extra vir­gin olive oil is health­ier than con­ven­tional olive oil. Its higher polyphe­nol con­tent ren­ders it an excep­tion­ally nour­ish­ing food­stuff.

Both are extremely ben­e­fi­cial for our health, nutri­tion and con­tain polyphe­nols (nat­ural antiox­i­dants found in vir­gin and extra vir­gin olive oils). How­ever, one of them is health­ier, if pos­si­ble, than the other. Or at least this is the con­clu­sion of a study con­ducted by a team of pro­duc­ers and researchers from var­i­ous cen­tres in Andalu­sia that attribute the supremacy, nutri­tion­ally speak­ing, of the organic vir­gin olive oil over the con­ven­tional.

There is no lack of argu­ments to sup­port this because apart from offer­ing reg­u­lated qual­ity, the organic prod­uct is also more nutri­tious than the oil obtained using the con­ven­tional method. These char­ac­ter­is­tics endow this food­stuff with enor­mous added value, which is increas­ingly in demand among con­sumers con­cerned about their health.

More nat­ural antiox­i­dants

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The find­ings of the research study enti­tled Phe­nol com­pounds with a ben­e­fi­cial health effect in the Extra Vir­gin Olive Oils made of the Picual vari­etal: Com­par­a­tive study of organic crop ver­sus con­ven­tional crop patently demon­strates the ben­e­fits of this olive juice nec­es­sary for a bal­anced diet, which uses envi­ron­men­tally-friendly pro­duc­tion meth­ods.

For the pur­poses of this study, researchers analysed the most wide­spread olive vari­etal in Andalu­sia: the Picual, specif­i­cally that of the olives cul­ti­vated on the estates of Cór­doba. One of these is owned by the Insti­tuto Andaluz de Inves­ti­gación y For­ma­ción Agraria y Pes­quera (Ifapa), located in the Cór­doba town of Cabra, and another belongs to the Here­dia Hal­cón fam­ily, sit­u­ated in Albendín (Baena).

The exam­i­na­tion of the agro­nomic and qual­ity para­me­ters of these vir­gin olive oils obtained using both con­ven­tional and organic pro­duc­tion meth­ods, as well as their phe­nol com­pounds, deter­mined that the organic extra vir­gin is of more nutri­tional value than the con­ven­tional oil. This is due to the fact that the pro­por­tion of indi­vid­ual phe­nol com­pounds (those with most health ben­e­fits, such as hydrox­ytrosol, phe­no­lic acids and flavonoids) is sig­nif­i­cantly higher in the for­mer group rather than the lat­ter.

Fewer sec­oiri­doids, but more hydrox­ytrosol

Nonethe­less, the data col­lected shows that con­ven­tional olive oil has a higher total polyphe­nol con­tent than its organic coun­ter­part. Accord­ing to the researchers, this could be due to the fact that the con­ven­tional Picual extracted from the rain­fed olive grove may con­tain a higher level of other phe­nol com­pounds from the sec­oiri­doid fam­ily (oleu­ropeine). These, found in large quan­ti­ties in vir­gin olive oil, have proven to have less antiox­i­dant capac­ity than the bio­phe­nols stud­ied.

Whichever the case, the study jus­ti­fies the fact that the organic oil presents a high con­tent of the most com­mon and impor­tant polyphe­nol in the olive, hydrox­ytrosol, and its com­po­si­tion con­tains higher lev­els of phe­no­lic acids and flavonoids which are renowned for their anti-tumour, car­dio-tonic and anti-throm­botic prop­er­ties.

Other research

The in vivo, in vitro and epi­demi­o­log­i­cal stud­ies con­ducted to date attribute par­tic­u­lar impor­tance to the phe­nol com­pounds. Bear­ing in mind that there is a higher con­cen­tra­tion of these in the organic juice, other sim­i­lar stud­ies are nec­es­sary to ver­ify whether they behave the same way in other cam­paigns and other olive vari­etals apart from those stud­ied.

Because we must remem­ber that organic agri­cul­ture has under­gone a remark­able devel­op­ment all over the world and olive cul­ti­va­tion is no excep­tion to this. Specif­i­cally in Spain, and par­tic­u­larly in Andalu­sia, it is already one of the main pro­duc­tion strate­gies from the eco­nomic per­spec­tive.

In this sense, the olive-pro­duc­ing pro­fes­sion has ini­ti­ated the trans­for­ma­tion of its estates, seek­ing higher prof­its and, implic­itly, a reduc­tion of the neg­a­tive envi­ron­men­tal impacts. The con­se­quence of this is that sales of organic olive oil have become a dri­ver to increase the producer’s income.

Más infor­ma­ción / Fur­ther infor­ma­tion: www.caae.es

Oli­varama arti­cles also appear in Oli­varama mag­a­zine and are not edited by Olive Oil Times.

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