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Functional food: The health beneficts of extra virgin olive oil

Author(s): Emanuele Baldini

Olive oil is the principal source of dietary lipids of the Mediterranean diet. It is considered a functional food for its particular composition and nutritional value thanks to the presence of bioactive compounds (e.g., polyphenols) and its “healthy” fatty acid profile (rich of oleic acid). Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is associated as a key bioactive food with its different health benefits. In particular, it has been linked as one of the principal causes for the reduced incidence of different pathologies in relation with other EU/not EU regions where are used different kind of dietary lipids. After an overview of Olive oil worldwide production and composition, it has been analysed the importance of EVOO fatty acid profile with the high presence of oleic acid and the benefits regarding EVOO’s phenols. Several healthy effects have been detected on oil by-products (olive oil residues) becoming also “eco-healthy”.

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