What to Know about High Polyphenol Olive Oils

What to Know about High Polyphenol Olive Oils

What to Know about High Polyphenol Olive Oils

What Are Polyphenols?

Olive oil is known for being one of the healthiest oils you can use - and it's not just the healthy monounsaturated fats. Extra virgin olive oils are rich in polyphenols, organic antioxidant compounds that are found in plants. EVOO contains over 20 different polyphenols, including hydroxytyrosol, oleocanthal and oleuropein. Diets rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols have been well studied and shown to have many health benefits, including:
  • Lower cholesterol levels (and oxidation of cholesterol)
  • Reduced heart disease risk
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved brain health & cognitive function
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Reduced diabetes risk
  • Supportive in fighting free radicals & cancer in the body

How do you know if an olive oil is high in polyphenols?

The type of olives, when they are harvested, and how an oil is stored all have a big impact on the polyphenol content of an olive oil. Lab testing is available, though expensive and only a snapshot of the moment the oil is tested.

However, there are a couple taste signifiers to look for that indicate high polyphenol content: Pungency, the peppery kick in the back of your throat, is associated with high levels of the phenol oleocanthal (which acts in a similar way to Ibuprofen, as well as being a known cancer-fighting agent). Bitterness is associated with the phenol oleuropein. In general, the more bold/robust and the fresher the olive oil, the higher the polyphenol content, so you can look for harvest dates and taste descriptors to get an idea.

If you’re used to mild extra virgin olive oil, it might be time to incorporate some of the bitterness and pungency of a more robust EVOO to your diet – it’s super healthy! These are best used for finishing, dipping and cold applications. Use them as a finishing touch after plating, and bring a bottle out to the table so everyone can drizzle EVOO over their dishes to their personal liking.
Note: you may not like bitterness and pungency when tasting oil by itself, but incorporated into foods those qualities can add to the overall flavor of a dish.


Which of Stonehouse's EVOO's are highest in polyphenols?

In our 2024 lineup, Organic Coratina is far and above the highest in polyphenols, just by taste alone (as well as the Coratina varietal having, on average, more than 300% more polyphenols than many other varietals of olives).

Since we don't lab test all of our oils, we can't speak specifically to the levels and ratings of our oils, but you can always get a general sense by reading tasting notes (see above for what to look for).

Generally speaking, keep your eye out for the first release of our seasonal "Olio Nuovo" olive oils (meaning "new oil" in Italian), as freshness plays a big role in the polyphenol content of an olive oil.

Here's to your health!


For more:

Shop all of Stonehouse's Extra Virgin Olive Oils here.

Wondering about how to best store and use olive oil for retaining optimal polyphenol levels and health properties of EVOO? Check out our FAQ page here.