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What Does OLIVE OIL Do for Your Body?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 10/11/2023

Ever poured a generous glug of olive oil over your salad and felt like you were doing something good for your body? Well, that feeling wasn't misplaced.

The golden liquid isn't just about taste—it's brimming with polyphenols, these tiny compounds making a massive difference in our health.

Polyphenols in olive oil are like superheroes on the microscopic level—packing powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory punches. But do you know what they're up to inside us?

This post will uncover their extraordinary deeds—from safeguarding our hearts to boosting brain power, even lifting mood!

And there's more: We'll delve into the science behind how these wonder molecules come into being, why monounsaturated fat isn’t all it’s cracked up to be compared to them, and why choosing organic matters.

Exploring the incredible universe of micro-nutrition. It's all about uncovering the enormous sway minuscule nutrients can have on our physical and mental health.

The Power of Polyphenols in Olive Oil

Olive oil, a popular component of the Mediterranean diet, has been praised for its nutrition-packed profile. But what gives it an edge are polyphenols.

Unveiling the Antioxidant Effects of Olive Oil

Polyphenols have potent antioxidant properties that help combat oxidative stress. They act like shields against harmful free radicals to protect our cells from damage.

They're great for keeping us healthy and even slowing aging processes. And when we say olive oil is teeming with these superheroes, we aren't kidding.

The Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Olive Oil

Inflammation can lead to serious health issues over time. Here's where olive oil steps in again. The high polyphenol content contributes significantly to reducing inflammation.

This benefits conditions like arthritis or heart disease by lessening inflammation in joints and arteries. In other words, a drizzle here and there could be just what your body needs.

Monounsaturated Fat vs Polyphenols in Olive Oil

Olive oil, a common cooking ingredient, is praised for its abundance of monounsaturated fats. But did you know it's also packed with health-boosting polyphenols?

The Role of Monounsaturated Fat in Olive Oil

Monounsaturated fat makes up about 75% of olive oil's content and contributes to heart health by reducing harmful cholesterol levels. However, the benefits don't stop there.

This type of fat has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes. Plus, it can help control blood sugar levels — making olive oil an excellent choice for those watching their carb intake.

Polyphenols - The Health Powerhouses in Olive Oil

Moving beyond monounsaturated fats, let's delve into polyphenols - micronutrients with antioxidant properties vital to our wellbeing.

Research suggests that polyphenols may reduce the risk of certain diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disorders.

Fascinatingly enough, research suggests these mighty nutrients may even support cognitive function and enhance mood. So, while both components offer impressive perks individually, they create a potent health elixir inside your pantry.

How Polyphenols are Produced

Polyphenols, the potent antioxidants in olive oil, don't just appear out of thin air. They're created through a fascinating process known as the shikimate pathway.

The Shikimate Pathway - Nature's Chemical Factory

This biochemical assembly line begins with simple sugar molecules inside plant cells. The sugars journey down this pathway and transform into aromatic amino acids (AAA).

But that’s not their final stop. These AAAs then morph into polyphenols under certain conditions, such as when the plant is stressed or during maturation.

Consider it like a bustling factory line where plain blocks of wood (sugars) enter one end, and beautiful handcrafted furniture pieces (polyphenols) emerge from the other.

The Threat of Glyphosate to Polyphenol Production

Picture a surprise visitor coming to your feast and consuming all the food before anyone else can partake. That's what glyphosate does in our plants—it hijacks their nutritional resources, causing polyphenol production to plummet.

Glyphosate's Impact on Plant Health and Nutrition

This sneaky herbicide isn't just stealing from our salad bowls; it’s compromising plant health, too. Studies have shown that exposure to glyphosate can drastically reduce the concentration of beneficial polyphenols in crops like olives.

Polyphenols are vital for plant immunity against diseases and pests, but when they’re reduced, they lead not only to less nutritious crops and more vulnerable ones.

So why do we still use this notorious party-crasher? Well, because its ability as an effective weed killer makes agriculture more manageable—but at what cost?

The loss of these potent antioxidants doesn’t stop with the plants themselves either—glyphosate residue can continue reducing microbial diversity within soil ecosystems long after application.

This is another blow dealt by this double agent since microbes play a crucial role in breaking down organic matter into nutrients that support healthy plant growth—thus, higher levels of those prized polyphenols.

Choosing Organic Olive Oil for Maximum Health Benefits

Opting for organic olive oil is the best way to reap its many health benefits. But why go organic? It's simple - avoiding harmful chemicals like glyphosate and ensuring higher polyphenol content.

The Importance of Consuming Real, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olive oil is not just about fat; it’s packed with over 30 phenolic compounds. These powerful antioxidants give extra virgin olive oil its bitter taste and intense aroma. They also contribute to the oil's heart-healthy reputation.

To get these health perks, you need the real deal – extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). The label 'extra virgin' guarantees that the oil has been cold pressed from freshly harvested olives and contains no added chemicals.

Belly fat

The Role of Fat in Polyphenol Absorption

Fat isn't always bad. When paired with polyphenols in EVOO, fats can boost their absorption. This pairing forms micelles that allow your body to absorb nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K more easily.

Polyphenols aren’t just good for humans but also crucial for plants. Plants use them to defend against predators or environmental stressors through oxidative bursts.


Unlocking the benefits of polyphenols in olive oil is no small feat. These tiny compounds pack a severe health punch with their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers.

The truth about monounsaturated fats? Polyphenols outshine monounsaturated fats in terms of health benefits.

Dive into how these powerhouses are made through nature's chemical factory—the shikimate pathway. But beware—glyphosate can hinder this process.

Choose organic to ensure you get the most from your olive oil! This helps avoid glyphosate exposure and guarantees higher polyphenol content. Plus, pairing them with fat enhances absorption!

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