With its makeup of rich polyphenols, antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) carries significant medicinal value as part of a plant-based or Mediterranean-style diet.
Studies comparing refined olive oil to EVOO have proven that the monounsaturated fat is not the source of olive oil’s health benefits, though that type of fat is considered a good source of dietary fat. Rather, oils with higher phenol content are related to more health benefits than lower phenol content oils. A four-year study that concluded in 2015 study showed that EVOO helped reduce the risk for breast cancer in some women by nearly 70 percent.
Higher phenol oils, such as the flavorful Ultra Premium (UP) varietals offered by Abingdon Olive Oil Company, provide healthful antioxidants which slow natural oxidative processes and limit oxidative stress on the body. The UP standard developed by our exclusive importer, Veronica Foods, separates the world’s highest quality EVOO from others with misleading “gourmet” and “premium” labels.
Early-harvest, first-press olive oil varietals in particular have consistently high levels of polyphenols. Other true EVOO varietals that meet extra-virgin standards — with less than 1% free fatty acid, no chemical adulteration or sensory defects — still carry disease-fighting elements, though the higher phenol content oils carry a greater potential health benefit.
The Ultra Premium standard exceeds chemistry requirements followed by the USDA and other international regulators for producers to label their oils as extra virgin. This ensures a quality product for health-conscious consumers that want to maximize the healing effects of true EVOO.