Olive oil and oxidative stress
Keywords:Olive oil, Antioxidants, Hydroxytyrosol, Mediterranean diet, Phenolics, Oleuropein
In addition to the fatty acid profile of olive oil, which is high in the monounsaturated oleic acid and appears to be beneficial in reducing several risk factors for coronary heart disease and certain cancers, extra virgin olive oil contains a considerable amount of phenolic compounds, e.g. hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, that are responsible for its peculiar taste and for its high stability. A body of evidence demonstrates that olive oil phenolics are powerful antioxidants. Although most of these studies have been carried out in vitro, some in vivo experiments confirm that olive oil phenolics are dose-dependently absorbed and that they retain their biological activities after ingestion. These data could in part explain the lower incidence of coronary heart disease in the Mediterranean area, where (extra virgin) olive oil is the principal source of fat.
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