Our Drop of Life brand of Olive Oil falls in the category we call Healthy Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it complies with EU Regulations to make the recently approved EU Health Claim due to its high level of Polyphenols
In 2012, the European Union approved the following health claim regarding Olive Oil Polyphenols, giving Drop of Life scientific evidence for it’s name.
“The consumption of Olive Oil Polyphenols contributes
to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.”
The claim may be used only for olive oil which contains at least 5 mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (e.g. oleuropein complex and tyrosol) per 20 g of olive oil. In order to bear the claim information shall be given to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 20 g of olive oil.
We created this category of Olive Oil because we believe that the Health Benefits provided by Olive Oil as well as the increasing research and evidence of these, needs to be more directly conveyed to the consumer. Current practice does not allow for differentiation between EVOO’s and Olive Oils with a high Polyphenol count.
Olive Variety or cultivar play the most important role in the level of Polyphenols in an olive oil. Research has shown that although almost all olive varieties can produce Extra Virgin Olive Oil. There are only a few that have been shown to have very high levels of Polyphenols (around 300mg/kg); Koroneiki (Greece), Coratina (Italy), and Cornicabra (Spain) just to name a few. Varieties with traditionally low Polyphenol counts are; Arbequina (Spain) and Sevillano (USA).
It is the inability of the current recognized standards to recognize exceptional Olive Oil categories that we attempt to address. Given that the Olive Variety, Terrain, Weather, Harvest & Milling practises effect Polyphenol levels , it is impossible for all Extra Virgin Olive Oils (EVOO) to also have high levels of Polyphenols in order to provide the health benefits of olive oils as well as compliance with the EU Health Claim.
Research has found that Virgin Olive Oils have a Natural Polyphenol level that can range from anywhere between 50 – 800 mg/kg. On Average, EVOOs (the highest quality Olive Oil) range between 100-250 mg/kg polyphenols. Extra Virgin Olive Oils which comply with the EU Health Claim (around 300 mg/kg regarding Olive Oil Polyphenols can indicate this by calling their olive oil Healthy Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Polyphenols are responsible for the bitter and pungent tastes in Olive Oil, one of the main reasons olives cannot be picked from the tree and eaten is due to their bitterness. Polyphenols are at their highest in the olive fruit when the fruit is still green, and if you were to try this olive from the tree you would find it to be more bitter than when the olive is fully ripe and falls off the tree. It should therefore be no surprise that Olive Oils with a high level of polyphenols are more bitter in taste.
In the United States, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the following health claim regarding Olive Oil in 2004:
“Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains [x] grams of olive oil”
Olive oil means virgin olive oil, or blends of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil; where virgin olive oil is the oil resulting from the first pressing of olives and is suitable for human consumption without further processing and refined olive oil is the oil obtained from subsequent pressings and which is suitable for human consumption by refining processes which neutralize the acidity or remove particulate matter.