Some of the health benefits associated with olive oil go back to Ancient Greece with over 300 'medicinal' uses for olive oil identified by Hippocrates, the 'father' of modern medicine. These ranged from skin conditions to digestive problems amongst others.
Up until the 1990s research around olive oil focused on the high monounsaturated fat content of olive oil and identified Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the healthiest type of fat for human consumption in comparison to others.
Based on this research, in 2004 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the following health claim for Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
In the early 2000's researchers identified polyphenols in olive oil and understood the benefits associated with Extra Virgin Olive Oil were primarily linked to the Polyphenols. This led to further research and clinical trials around the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits associated with the Mediterranean Diet and Olive Oil Polyphenols. In 2012 the European Union approved a health claim for Olive Oil Polyphenols in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with a total Polyphenol content of over 250 mg/Kg.
The consumption of Olive Oil Polyphenols contributes to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
As more research is completed, clinical trials are concluded and new research comes to light we see that phenols like Oleocanthal, Ligstroside Aglycone, Oleacein and others that are only available in Extra Virgin Olive Oil have tremendous health and antioxidant properties linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Autism and Multiple Sclerosis and even malignant Cancer tumors. Not all olive oils contain polyphenols and offer the health benefits associated with them. Not even all Extra Virgin Olive Oils.
In 2021 the World Olive Center for health - a non-profit organization that measure the phenolic content in olive oil and organizes seminars for olive oil researchers from around the world to come together - identified that only 5% of olive oils contain over 1200 mg/Kg Total Polyphenols and proposed that only olive oils with a phenolic content of over 500 mg/kg should be identified as high-phenolic.
We provide our olive oil to researchers from the University of Athens and other organizations every year to help complete research around the health benefits and olive oil polyphenols.