What is hydroxytyrosol?

What is hydroxytyrosol?

Hydroxytyrosol is a naturally occurring superpower compound.  It is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants known. It is found in olives and olive oil, and most concentrated in extra virgin olive oil.

Hydroxytyrosol can protect our body in two main ways:

Antioxidant Powers

Hydroxytyrosol fights against the free radicals which can damage your cells. It helps protect your heart by preventing bad cholesterol from oxidizing. That's important because oxidation of LDL cholesterol contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries.

Fighting Inflammation

Hydroxytyrosol helps calm down swelling and irritation (inflammation) inside our bodies. It does this by stopping chemicals that cause swelling and by controlling a protein called NF-kB that can increase inflammation.

This is why hydroxytyrosol has attracted interest for its potential benefits against several health problems including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and certain types of cancer. Further studies, especially large-scale human clinical trials, are required to fully understand its therapeutic potential.

Sources of hydroxytyrosol

Extra virgin olive oil is particularly rich in hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives. The concentration of hydroxytyrosol can vary depending on the type of olive oil, the olives' maturity, the region of cultivation, and the extraction process.

Both black and green olives contain hydroxytyrosol, but the compound's concentration can vary widely based on factors like the olive's variety, maturity, and processing method.

Olive leaves have been used traditionally for their medicinal properties. They also contain hydroxytyrosol, and there are some olive leaf extracts available as dietary supplements that contain a high concentration of this phenolic compound.   

The leftovers of olive oil production, such as the olive pulp and wastewater, also contain hydroxytyrosol. Some modern extraction methods are focusing on recovering these valuable compounds from the waste products.

Hydroxytyrosol can also be made synthetically in industrial processes for commercial applications, such as dietary supplements and functional foods.

If you want to get hydroxytyrosol into your diet for its health benefits, consider  making extra virgin olive oil a regular part of your diet. Need suggestions? Here are 10 easy and delicious ideas on how to do that. 


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