Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Is the highest quality and most expensive olive oil classification. In chemical terms extra virgin olive oil is described as having a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams. Since extra virgin olive oil is simply pressed fruit juice without additives, the factors influencing its quality and taste include the varieties of olives used, the terroir,  production practice and producer devotion.

 Beneficial Compounds

                                               Extra virgin olive oil is derived from the whole olive fruit  using the cold-press technique. The process of making extra virgin olive oil does not change the chemical nature of the olive or the oil produced. This is beneficial because compounds developed by the fruit from environmental stress are incorporated into the oil. Some of these phenolic compounds have been shown to have antioxidant effects in humans, specifically reducing risk for atherosclerosis and cancer, as well as providing anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits.

Nutritional Breakdown

                                                Extra virgin olive oil is calorie-dense and falls into the fat food group. One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains 119 calories and 13.5 grams of fat, which is 21 percent of the recommended daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Extra virgin olive oil does not contain any protein or carbohydrates. About 75 percent of the fat from extra virgin olive oil is monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, a type of oleic acid that has been shown to decrease total blood cholesterol.

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It has long been recognized for its unusual fat content.  Among its extensive list of phytonutrients, no single category of nutrients is more important than its polyphenols.  The polyphenol content of this delicious oil is truly amazing!

The list below shows some of the key polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil, organized by their chemical category:

  • Simple Phenols
  • -          tyrosol
  • -          hydroxytyrosol
  • Terpenes
  • -          oleuropein
  • -          ligstroside
  • Flavones
  • -          apigenin
  • -          luteolin
  • Hydroxycinnamic acids
  • -          caffeic acid
  • -          cinnamic acid
  • -          ferulic acid
  • -          coumaric acid
  • Anthocyanidins
  • -          cyanidins
  • -          peonidins
  • Flavonols
  • -          quercetin
  • -          kaempferol
  • Flavonoid glycosides
  • -          rutin
  • Lignans
  • -          pinoresinol
  • Hydroxybenzoic acids
  • -          vanillic acid
  • -          syringic acid

Most of these polyphenols  have been shown to function both as antioxidants and also as anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. The polyphenols found in EVOO are  natural for helping us to lower our risk of certain cancer types.