Oregon House, CA June 23,2010 - This year at the LA International Olive Oil Competition, only one Best of Show was awarded to a domestic oil – to Apollo Olive Oil’s organic Sierra. Over and above this award, Apollo is pioneering the measure of polyphenols and antioxidants as a further indicator of quality and healthful benefit in true extra virgin olive oils. This new, and more effective way to characterize quality is an approach introduced by the Tuscan mentor of Apollo Olive Oil, Marco Mugelli. Apollo’s three 2010 oils have been lab tested to contain between 720 and 780 mg/kg (ppm) antioxidants. This is more than three times the amount found in most extra virgin olive oils, and is only achievable with rigorous harvest and milling techniques that minimize oxidation during processing. Olive Oil and Antioxidants - The antioxidants in olive oil are mainly polyphenols and tocopherols (vitamin E). Lately, the oil-based polyphenols have shown important health benefits, particularly in the context of the traditional Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet). A summary of more than 100 scientific studies presented at an international conference in Spain, in 2008 provided new evidence of the role of olive oil polyphenols in the beneficial health effects witnessed with adherence to the olive-oil-rich MedDiet. Bitter is Better - Extra virgin olive oils rich in polyphenols have a distinctive taste –that becomes an acquired taste. The flavor is astringent, pungent or bitter in varying intensities, depending on the variety of olive, milling practices, and age of the oil. These flavors are delicious to the olive oil lover, just as dryness and bitterness are appreciated by beer and wine connoisseurs. One can learn to recognize these good flavors of astringency, pungency and bitterness in olive oil through other more common foods – such as the astringency of walnuts, the pungency of hot peppers, and the bitterness of hops. Not All Oils Are Created Equal - Many, if not most olive oils currently available in the U.S. market, are not truly extra virgin, and do not contain significant amounts of polyphenols, or flavor for that matter. Consumers are frequently surprised to discover the real flavors of extra virgin olive oil, and mistakenly think the oil is rancid. Quite the opposite though – these good flavors indicate that the olive oil is fresh and healthful. Rancid oil smells stale, tastes greasy and old, may be acrid, and has no clean astringency or pungency left. National Standards To the Rescue - Recently, the U.S. adopted standards for the labeling of extra virgin olive oil, and as more truthful labeling appears, the characteristic flavor and health benefits of real extra virgin olive oil will become more available to the American public. In the meantime, look for the harvest date on the bottle as evidence of the oil’s age, be suspicious of bargain basement prices, and savor the great flavors and benefits when you find a good oil. Your taste buds and body will thank you. Apollo Olive Oil blogs olive oil health news at http://apollooliveoil.wordpress.com and you can learn more about Apollo’s small, organic operations, unique milling system, and great oils at http://www.apollooliveoil.com.
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