The Mediterranean diet, which is high in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, is associated with reduced rate of coronary heart disease(1-3) and a reduction in all causes of mortality.(4)
Furthermore a strong reduction in cardiovascular heart diseases has been associated to a high intake of olive oil.(5)
The cardiovascular health activity of olive consumption, goes substantially beyond those expected from the high content of monounsaturated fatty acids found in olives and has been related to the phenolic compounds present in olives(1-6) and in particular the reduction of LDL oxidation has been linked to its phenolic content.(3, 7-8)
The FDA has a qualified health claim for olive oil - “Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil” and there are conditions to the use of this claim.(6) The EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA Panel) has confirmed the relationship between the daily intake of 5 mg ofolive oil polyphenols (standardized by the content of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives) and the protection of LDL particles from oxidative stress.(7) Recently, the EU commission has authorized a health claim to Olive oil polyphenols under specific conditions of use(8)*.
*Nutrient, substance, food or food category: Olive oil polyphenols
Claim: Olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.
Conditions of use: The claim may be used only for olive oil which contains 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.
- Konstantinidou, V., et al., In vivo nutrigenomic effects of virgin olive oil polyphenols within the frame of the Mediterranean diet: a randomized controlled trial. FASEB J, 2010. 24(7): p. 2546-57.
- De la Torre-Carbot, K., et al., Elevated circulating LDL phenol levels in men who consumed virgin rather than refined olive oil are associated with less oxidation of plasma LDL. J Nutr, 2010. 140(3): p. 501-8.
- Camargo, A., et al., Gene expression changes in mononuclear cells in patients with metabolic syndrome after acute intake of phenol-rich virgin olive oil. BMC Genomics, 2010. 11: p. 253.
- Covas, M.I., et al., The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med, 2006. 145(5): p. 333-41.
- Covas, M.I., Bioactive effects of olive oil phenolic compounds in humans: reduction of heart disease factors and oxidative damage. Inflammopharmacology, 2008. 16(5): p. 216-8.
- FDA Allows Qualified Health Claim to Decrease Risk of Coronary Heart Disease. Food and Drug Administration. Press release, 2004. P04-100
- EFSA Journal 2011. 9(4): 2033 [25 pp.]. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2033.
- COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 “Establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health”.