According to a newly-published study in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, consuming olive oil could reverse the effects of some food fungal toxins. Why is this important? Over-consumption of these toxins can lead to nervous system and motor system dysfunctions, such as tremors and seizures.
The research was carried out by a team of scientists from the University of Louisiana–Monroe, in order to address concerns that improper food storage could cause microbial growth that is known to produce mycotoxins, which can affect the health of both humans and livestock. Mycotoxins, which are produced by the growth of fungi, contaminate food and can be toxic to the human nervous system, even in very small doses. Other mycotoxins include lolitrems and ergovaline which are produced in pasture grasses. These are toxic to grazing animals and cost the global beef industry more than a billion dollars annually.
The mycotoxin, Penitrem A, which can contaminate both human and animal food, is one of the most common contaminants to which humans are vulnerable. Penitrem A was confirmed as a common food contaminant after being detected in non-moldy bread samples that had been stored and refrigerated for three days.
The role of EVOOs
These risks could be reduced by the consumption of olive oil rich in phenols, which can protect against potential food contaminants damaging to the nervous system.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), a key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet provides a variety of minor bioactive phenolics [Pinoresinol (PN) and acetoxypinoresinol (AC)], which are naturally occurring lignans in EVOO with diverse biological activities. In fact, acetoxypinoresinol exclusively occurs in EVOO, unlike Pinoresinol, which occurs in several other plants.
The study’s authors believe olive oil could become a food additive ingredient for improving food safety and increasing protection for both humans and livestock.
It is worth noting that according to extensive research, Greek olive oil contains more polyphenols than EVOOs of other origins.
Read more about the health benefits of High Polyphenol EVOO.