Only One Type Of Olive Oil Has The Therapeutic Potential To Maximize Your Health and It's Raw
The world has been very receptive to the health benefits of olive oil, especially in that last fifty years as more studies and established brands have increased in reputability. However, the olive oil industry is also littered with problems from low quality processing, adulterated oils and toxic extractions. From cancer to cardiovascular benefits, there's only one type of olive oil that maximizes therapeutic potential and it's raw.
Sales of olive oil have been steadily rising in recent years and the $1.5 billion industry had an annual growth rate of nearly ten percent in just five years from 2009 to 2014. The surge is largely due to reports hailing the cooking ingredient’s health benefits.
But what many consumers may not realize are that some of the major producers of olive oil in the U.S. have been sued for allegedly misrepresenting their products. Two major producers of the cooking oil --Filippo Berio Olive Oil Brands and Safeway’s Select Brand of olive oil -- are the targets of separate class action lawsuits, filed by a California woman. Rohini Kumar is suing Salov North America, manufacturers of Filippo Berio Olive Oil -- the third largest brand of olive oil sold in the U.S. -- and Safeway Inc., claiming deceptive advertising.
A EU regulation on marketing standards for olive oil came into effect a few years ago and an oil's designation of origin is now compulsory for all virgin and extra virgin oils. Blended oils must be labeled as such. Not so in the U.S. or Canada.
"The level of understanding of olive oils in Canada is very, very low. It's like our understanding of wine some 20, 30 years ago and yet, Canada is the fifth largest importer of olive oil. It blows my mind that people will spend $40 on a bottle of wine or spend extra for organic produce but won't spend $20 for olive oil. People have gotten used to poor quality," said Teresa Kuhn, of Olive Oil Merchant in Vancouver.
To boost profits, many producers have been caught adulterating olive oil they label as "extra virgin" with much cheaper hazelnut, soy, or sunflower seed oil, among others, as well as mislabeling its country of origin. This is very common all over the world and various manufacturers continue to adulterate olive oils to save money and produce low-quality, cheaper versions which have little to no therapeutic value.
The olive oil scandal is further compounded by the fact that many olive oils with the label "Made in Italy" are not produced with olives from Italy, but rather Spain, Morocco and Tunisia.
The Best Therapeutically Potent Olive Oil Is Raw
Only the highest quality extra virgin olive oils are manufactured by simply pressing (milling) the fruit without refining, heating, extracting, use of chemicals or other process; just cold (no heat applied) pressing of the olives. Every other oil involves a refining process using high heat and chemicals to extract the oil. Extra virgin olive oil is unique, because you are essentially eating a component of the raw fruit. This is the secret of its enormous health benefits.
How do you find a reputable source? There are hundreds of different kinds of olives, which make thousands of different kinds of oil. Asking "what's the best olive oil?" is like asking "what's the best wine?"
As the farming population continues to age and the costs of production exponentially continue to increase, aggressive short cuts are used with radical pesticides and chemicals to control Grubb and grass. Although not as cost effective, those manufacturers who strive for quality olive oils continue to cultivate and control grass through mechanical, organic and non-chemical means.
Even though most quality olive oil is said to be cold-pressed, it is still being cooked at a temperature of 33 C, a common enough process.
A scientific study that has determined that the colder the process in making olive oil, the higher the immune-boosting properties.The protective effects of olive oil on cognitive function was part of a study conducted by Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez of the University of Navarra in Spain and reported in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
Why Is Raw Ice-Pressed Olive Oil Superior To All Others?
The most health-empowering olive oil on the market is Ice-Pressed Olive Oil. It's the only truly raw olive oil loaded with nutrients. Ice-pressing yields significantly less oil than heat, and produces a more premium product, deliciously fragrant and flavourful.
Only the freshest -- and usually most expensive -- olive oil has significant amounts of oleocanthal. The irritating intensity of the taste of a fresh extra virgin olive oil is directly related to how much oleocanthal the oil contains.
Ice Pressed olive oil has been pressed in the complete absence of heat; a dramatic 20-30 times colder than the cold-pressed olive oil; a critical distinction in terms of maintaining the oils’ nutritive and healing potential and to staking claim as one of the world’s only RAW producers of olive oil.
Several significant factors impact the antioxidant value of olive oil: late harvest, mechanical agitation, slow to press, high heat and filtering. Choosing to buy pass these common trappings ensures our olive oil maintains the highest antioxidant and energetic value and its status as a “Raw Super Food”!
In olive oil, acidity refers to the formation of free fatty acids or put another way, the breakdown to the quality of an oil. Factors that cause the olive oil to breakdown include, the health of the olives, how aggressive you harvest, time between pressing and heat! Sustainably farming, ice pressing the same day of hand harvesting, we have produced an oil with a near flawless acidity.
The anti-inflammatory strength of olive oil rests on its polyphenols. These anti-inflammatory compounds include at least nine different categories of polyphenols and more than two dozen well-researched anti-inflammatory nutrients. Research has documented a wide variety of anti-inflammatory mechanisms used by olive oil polyphenols to lower our risk of inflammatory problems. These mechanisms include decreased production of messaging molecules that would otherwise increase inflammation (including TNF-alpha, interleukin 1-beta, thromboxane B2, and leukotriene B4); inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes like cyclo-oxygenase 1 and cyclo-oxygenase 2; and decreased synthesis of the enzyme inducible nitric oxide synthase.
In heart patients, olive oil and its polyphenols have also been determined to lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a widely used blood measurement for assessing the likelihood of unwanted inflammation. They have also been found to reduce activity in a metabolic pathway called the arachidonic acid pathway, which is central for mobilizing inflammatory processes.
These anti-inflammatory benefits of extra virgin olive oil do not depend on large levels of intake. As little as 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day have been shown to be associated with significant anti-inflammatory benefits.
In terms of antioxidant protection for our blood vessels, olive oil has been shown to lower risk of lipid peroxidation (oxygen damage to fat) in our bloodstream. Many of the fat-containing molecules in our blood--including molecules like LDL--need to be protected from oxygen damage. Oxygen damage to molecules like LDL significantly increases our risk of numerous cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis. Protection of the LDL molecules in our blood from oxygen damage is a major benefit provided by olive oil and its polyphenols. Equally important is protection against oxygen damage to the cells that line our blood vessels. Once again, it's the polyphenols in olive oil that have been shown to provide us with that protection.
One process we don't want to see in our blood vessels is too much clumping together of blood cells called platelets. While we want to see blood platelets clump together under circumstances like an open wound, where their clumping together acts to seal off the wound, we don't want this process to occur in an ongoing way when there is no acute emergency. Several of the polyphenols found in olive oil--including hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein and luteolin--appear to be especially helpful in keeping our blood platelets in check and avoiding problems of too much clumping (called platelet aggregation). There are also two messaging molecules (called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and factor VII) that are capable of triggering too much clumping together of the platelets, and the polyphenols in olive oil can help stop overproduction of these molecules.
Digestive Health Benefits
Benefits of olive oil for the digestive tract were first uncovered in research on diet and cancers of the digestive tract. Numerous studies found lower rates of digestive tract cancers--especially cancers of the upper digestive tract, including the stomach and small intestine--in populations that regularly consumed olive oil. Studies on the Mediterranean Diet were an important part of this initial research on olive oil and the digestive tract. Protection of the lower digestive tract (for example, protection of the colon from colon cancer) is less well-documented in the olive oil research, even though there is some strongly supportive evidence from select laboratory animal studies. Many of these anti-cancer effects in the digestive tract were believed to depend on the polyphenols in olive oil and their antioxidant plus anti-inflammatory properties. One particular category of polyphenols, called secoiridoids, continues to be a focus in research on prevention of digestive tract cancers.
Recent research has provided us with even more information, however, about olive oil, its polyphenols, and protection of the digestive tract. One fascinating area of recent research has involved the polyphenols in olive oil and the balance of bacteria in our digestive tract. Numerous polyphenols in olive oil have been shown to slow the growth of unwanted bacteria, including bacteria commonly responsible for digestive tract infections. These polyphenols include oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol. Some of these same polyphenols--along with other olive oil polyphenols like ligstroside--are specifically able to inhibit the growth of the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. This effect of the olive oil polyphenols may be especially important, since overpopulation of Helicobacter bacteria coupled with over-attachment of Helicobacter to the stomach lining can lead to stomach ulcer and other unwanted digestive problems.
Bone Health Benefits
Support of overall bone health is another promising area of olive oil research. While most of the initial study in this area has been conducted on laboratory animals, better blood levels of calcium have been repeatedly associated with olive oil intake. In addition, at least two polyphenols in olive oil--tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol--have been shown to increase bone formation in rats. A recent group of researchers has also suggested that olive oil may eventually prove to have special bone benefits for post-menopausal women, since they found improved blood markers of overall bone health in female rats who had been fed olive oil after having their ovaries removed. Taken as a group, the above studies suggest that bone health benefits may eventually be viewed as an important aspect of olive oil intake.
Improved cognitive function--especially among older adults--is a well-known feature of the Mediterranean Diet. As the staple oil in that diet, olive oil has been of special interest for researchers interested in diet and cognitive function. In France, a recent study large-scale study on older adults has shown that visual memory and verbal fluency can be improved with what the researchers called "intensive use" of olive oil. In this case, "intensive use" meant regular use of olive oil not just for cooking, or as an ingredient in sauces and dressings, but in all of these circumstances.
Equally fascinating to us in the area of cognition has been recent research on olive oil intake and brain function. In laboratory animals with brain function that had been compromised by lack of oxygen, consumption of olive oil helped offset many different types of brain-related problems, including unbalanced water content, unbalanced nervous system activity, and too easy passage of molecules across the blood brain barrier. This animal research has given scientists many further clues about the ways in which olive oil might provide us with cognitive benefits. The ability to help protect our brain during times of imbalance may turn out to be one of the special health benefits offered by this unique culinary oil.
The polyphenols found in olive oil are a natural for helping us lower our risk of certain cancer types. Many types of cancer only get initiated when cells are overwhelmed by oxidative stress (damage to cell structure and function by overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules) and by chronic excessive inflammation. Since the polyphenols in olive oil act both as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules, they are perfectly suited for lowering our cells' risk of oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation. Research studies have shown that as little as 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil per day can lower our risk of certain cancer types, including cancers of the breast, respiratory tract, upper digestive tract, and to a lesser extent, lower digestive tract (colorectal cancers). In some research studies, the anti-cancer benefits of olive oil do not show up until the diets of routine olive oil users are compared with the diets of individuals who seldom use olive oil and who instead consume added fats that are more saturated in composition (for example, butter).
While most of the anti-cancer research on olive oil has focused on its polyphenols and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, several studies have uncovered other fascinating ways in which olive oil provides its anti-cancer benefits. These other ways include the improvement of cell membrane function in a way that lowers risk of cancer development and the altering gene expression in cells in a way that enhances their antioxidant defense system. A final important mechanism linking olive oil intake to decreased cancer risk involves protection of our DNA. The antioxidants in olive oil appear to have a special ability to protect DNA (deoxyribonucleic acids)--the key chemical component of genetic material in our cells--from oxygen damage. DNA protection from unwanted oxidative stress means better cell function in wide variety of ways and provides a cell with decreased risk of cancer development.
There is also encouraging research on the potential for olive oil to help with control of certain cancers once they have already developed. For example, improvement of breast cancer status has been an area of particular interest in olive oil research. Here some of the research has focused on the secoiridoids in olive oil (especially oleocanthal), and its ability to help keep breast cancer cells from reproducing. Another example involves the ability of hydroxytyrosol (HT) in olive oil to trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) in colon cancer cells. HT may be able to accomplish this anti-cancer effect by helping block the enzymatic activity of fatty acid synthetase (FAS). These cancer-controlling properties of olive oil and olive oil constituents are generally referred to as the "antiproliferative" properties of olive oil. We expect to see more future research in this area.