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Keywords:

  • olive oil;
  • antioxidants;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • Mediterranean diet;
  • phenolics

Abstract

Olive oil is the principal source of fats in the Mediterranean diet, which has been associated with a lower incidence of coronary heart disease and certain cancers. Phenolic compounds, e.g., hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, in extra-virgin olive oil are responsible for its peculiar pungent taste and for its high stability. Recent findings demonstrate that olive oil phenolics are powerful antioxidants, both in vitro and in vivo, and possess other potent biological activities that could partially account for the observed healthful effects of the Mediterranean diet. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Med Res Rev, 22, No. 1, 65–75, 2002