There are various important benefits from incorporating the olive oil and the olives in our diet.
Firstly, olive oil has a high concentration of Monounsaturated fatty acids(MUFAs) which are considered a healthy dietary fat, as opposed to saturated fats and trans fats. In fact, it provides linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid; essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, it may lower heart disease risk factors such as blood cholesterol levels and reduced LDL cholesterol oxidation. It has been associated with lower blood pressure levels and lower triglyceride levels and it could prevent the hardening of the arteries and the development of atherosclerosis.
A diet high in monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, has been linked with diabetes prevention. Olive oil contains oleocanthal (the polyphenol that is related with the pungent taste of olive oil), which controls inflammation and assists the immune system. Oleocanthal has also the potential to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative dementias.
Olive Oil contains vitamins A, E and K. Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is an antioxidant.
Apart from its use as a component of our diet, olive oil is used as a cleanser, moisturizer, and antibacterial agent in cosmetic products.
The olive fruit does not fall behind on the health benefits it offers! The olive fruit has high content of monounsaturated fats (MUFA). The monounsaturated fatty acids, especially the oleic acid, lower the LDL cholesterol and raise the HDL cholesterol. Alpha-linolenic acid, the omega-3 fatty acid in olive oil, help maintain a healthy heart. It contains vitamins A, E and K and it is a good source of dietary fibre.
A portion of olives (6 olives) can constitute one of the five a day recommended fruit & vegetables.
Olives are rich in mineral content such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and iodine.
It is a source of Oleocanthal that has anti-inflammatory effects and has been associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease or related neurodegenerative dementias.
Commission Regulation (EU) 432/2012 for the Olive Oil
There is a EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) approved health claim on olive oil polyphenols (Commission Regulation (EU) 432/2012) as follow:
«Olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress. The claim may be used only for olive oil, containing at least 5 mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (e.g. oleuropein complex and tyrosol) per 20 g of olive oil. In order to bear the claim information shall be given to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 20 g of olive oil.»
Olive oil comprises mainly of the monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid (C18:1). There is also a EFSA approved health claim on the unsaturated fatty acids (Commission Regulation (EU) 432/2012) as follow:
«Replacing saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. The claim may be used only for food which is high in unsaturated fatty acids, as referred to in the claim HIGH UNSATURATED FAT as listed in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006».