Over the last years, we have seen the publication of many relevant scientific studies demonstrating the cardiovascular diseases preventing activity of olive polyphenols.
Studies such as PREDIMED (multidiciplinary team) in Spain, focused on the effects of a Mediterranean Diet as primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. This study lasted five years and recruited more than 7.000 participants.
The main conclusion was that the Mediterranean Diet, including Extra Virgin Olive Oil, prevented from the appearance of cardiovascular diseases (cardiovascular death, myocardium infarct and/or stroke) in comparison with low fat diets.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is characterized by its high oleic acid composition, but mainly by the presence of minor compounds with an enormous value, known as polyphenols.
It is one of the keys of Mediterranean Diets and the antioxidant essence of virgin olive oil.
Hydroxytyrosol is the major and most active orto-diphenol, as a free radical scavenger, from olives and virgin olive oil. The ORAC activity (Oxygen Reactive Absorbance Capacity, measured in µM TE/mg) is 27. This number, together with the high bio-availability in the body and confirmed activity, make hydroxytyrosol a highly attractive molecule.
Reasons to be consumed
- Because it is a simple molecule (molecular weight: 154,166 g/mol), very active and bio-available, perfectly assimilable by the body.
- Because it is safe.
- Because it has been consumed for thousands of years by humans.
The traditional Mediterranean Diet is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. All of them are important sources of vitamins and polyphenols.
Extra virgin olive oil is the most common food in Mediterranean populations. The consumption of olive oil has been associated to a larger life expectancy. According to the Seven Countries Study, one of the pioneers of this line of research, the population of Creta (Greece) showed the highest life expectancy, as the consumption of Extra Virgin Olive Oil was one of the highest.