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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Oct;51(10):1199-208.

The influence of olive oil on human health: not a question of fat alone.

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Lipids and Atherosclerosis Research Unit, Reina Sofia University Hospital, University of Córdoba, Ciber Fisiopatología Obesidad y Nutrición (CB06/03), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain.


Olive oil is the most representative food in the traditional Mediterranean diet and its most important source of MUFA. The healthy benefits of MUFA-rich diets on plasma cholesterol levels, were the first to generate interest in this dietary model. In addition to the benefits conferred by its lipids, olive oil has other biological effects, some of them also related to MUFA. However, most recent studies have shown that there are a number of properties that depend on, or are potentiated by, the consumption of olive oil, such as virgin olive oil, that is rich in microcomponents. This foodstuff, thanks to its double set of benefits, thus tends to produce a better lipid profile and a less prothrombotic environment, promoting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, with a greater endothelial protective capacity. In view of these effects, it would appear that when olive oil is the basic source of dietary alimentary fat it has a major antiatherogenic capacity, which is not shared to the same extent by other oils that are rich in oleic acid but lack its characteristic micronutrients.

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