a handful of green olives after their harvest

The Liokareas Olive Oil Company’s High Phenolic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) won first place at the 2020/2021 World’s Best Healthy EVOO Contest in Spain, tied with an EVOO from Chile. Three other Greek companies, Eirini Plomariou, G Team, and Therianos Family, also ranked among the top ten healthy EVOOs at this unusual international olive oil competition.

This competition is one of just a few worldwide that are based on scientific chemical analyses of olive oil, with an emphasis on some of the substances in it that can benefit the human body. The contest was organized by the Oleocanthal International Society, which is dedicated to studying and promoting the health benefits of oleocanthal, a phenolic compound naturally found in extra virgin olive oil.

Rather than asking a panel of judges to consider the olive oils’ flavor and aroma, as most olive oil competitions do, this contest focused on three ways of considering how healthy extra virgin olive oils are: measuring the content of oleocanthal, fatty acids, and total biophenols (all the oils’ phenolic compounds, or phenols, including oleocanthal and various others).

Many consumers are aware that olive oil is high in the monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which is anti-inflammatory, possibly also anti-carcinogenic, and, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, “may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” But what are biophenols, and why should anyone care about them?

Biophenols are compounds naturally found in extra virgin olive oil that can help prevent or treat many serious illnesses due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties. For example, in numerous recent scientific studies the best-known phenolic compound, oleocanthal, has shown promise in helping to combat Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

According to scientific analyses, Liokareas High Phenolic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (HPEVOO) had a higher healthy oleocanthal content than any of its fellow contestants, as well as a very high total biophenol content and an impressive healthy fatty acid composition. It is also tasty, according to Peter Liokareas, thanks to “a complex, robust flavor profile with an olive fruitiness and a strong peppery finish.” Calling their HPEVOO “Your Elixir for Life,” Liokareas recommends consuming 15 ml (one tablespoon) of this liquid gold each day, with or without food, preferably unheated.

In the overall rankings, Eirini Plomariou tied for third place for their organic EVOO, while G Team tied for fourth with Hypereleon Ultra Gold Premium Organic, and Therianos Family came in seventh with their EVOO. G Team came in first, and Therianos Family third, for healthy biophenol composition. Eirini Plomariou was ranked third for their healthy fatty acid content.

Since the Oleocanthal International Society presented its first awards for high phenolic olive oil in 2016, a handful of other international competitions have also embraced their interest in rewarding some of the healthiest olive oils. In the past five years, numerous Greek extra virgin olive oils have been lauded for the impressive health benefits associated with many painstakingly produced oils extracted from carefully cultivated Greek olives.

Thanks to Liokareas for the photo.

All businesses, organizations, and competitions involved with Greek olive oil, the Mediterranean diet, and/or agrotourism or food tourism in Greece, as well as others interested in supporting Greeks working in these sectors, are invited to consider the advertising and sponsorship opportunities on the Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil website. The only wide-ranging English-language site focused on news and information from the Greek olive oil world, it has helped companies reach consumers in more than 215 countries around the globe.

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