Positive Health Effects of Olive Oil
European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety,
Olive oil is the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. Although the use of olive oil has a long history, in recent decades it has experienced a full bloom all over the world. The consumption of olive oil in Croatia, as a Mediterranean country, is modest (2L per capita). This paper discusses basic characteristics of olive oil, with special emphasis on its health effects. Olive oil is rich in chlorophyll, carotenoids, and vitamin E, all of which serve as natural antioxidants, whereas its phenolic components, oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, impact health positively in several ways. In addition to being powerful antioxidants, phenols in olive oil have anti-inflammatory, antiangiogenic, and anticancer properties. They modulate the immune system by affecting white blood cell proliferation and producing cytokine. The oil’s anticancer properties are of particular importance.
Mono-unsaturated fatty acids raise the level of “good cholesterol,” thus preventing the atherosclerosis process. Oleic acid in olive oil is less sensitive to oxidation, which is why it reduces the risk of harmful oxidation products. It has a high biological value and is easily digestible. Its antioxidant components slow down the ageing process and prevent the formation of cancer cells by neutralizing free radicals. It is important to preserve as many biologically active substances of olive oil as possible by properly storing and preparing the oil in order to maximize its effectiveness.
- Olive oil
- mono-unsaturated fatty acids
How to Cite
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