Olive oil in clinical nutrition
Keywords:Olive oil, Monounsaturated fatty acids, Enteral nutrition, Parenteral nutrition, Mediterranean diet
The different beneficial effects of olive oil have a rational and scientific basis due to advances in the knowledge of lipid metabolism. The evidence that for a similar plasma cholesterol concentration, the rate of cardiovascular deaths is lower in the Mediterranean countries than in other ones, suggests that the beneficial effects of olive oil may not be only related to the known quantitative changes in plasma lipoproteins, but also to other, as yet unknown or little known, anti-atherogenic factors. The peculiarities of olive oil in terms of certain biochemical, biological and nutritional characteristics, open up a field of application in normal clinical practice. The benefits of olive oil in clinical nutrition correlate with its action on lipid metabolism and the cardiovascular system. Even a moderate increase in the ingestion of monounsaturated fats and a reduction in the ingestion of carbohydrates could be more advantageous in those patients with diabetes and hypertriglyceridemia and/or in those where loss of weight is not a priority. Different studies have also demonstrated the benefits of olive oil in different inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The chemical composition of extra virgin olive oil contributes to daily requirements of essential fatty acids and active antioxidant nutrients in vitamin E deficiency. This particular and well-balanced situation [oleic acid (18:1 n -9) and minor components in an ideal ratio] undoubtedly has a significant relevance in human clinical nutrition.
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