Olive Oil Properties from Technological Aspects to Dietary and Health Claims

  • Manel Issaoui
  • Amélia M. Delgado


The Mediterranean is tightly bond with Olea europaea var. sativa, the olive tree, endemic in the region. The edible products of the olive tree are the table olives (fermented and processed in many styles) and olive oil. Olive oil can be described as the pure olive juice obtained after a mechanical extraction process under controlled environmental conditions. The popularity of olive oil has been steadily increasing worldwide as its market demand. Since the last century, olive oil production and consumption have increased sharply. Olive oil demands are expanding conquering new markets and reaching new consumers, thanks to the numerous scientific discoveries that have been highlighting their nutritional and therapeutic properties, as well as its role as a key component of a balanced diet. Previously, the nutritional quality of olive oil was only attributed to its high level of oleic acid. However, that is a feature shared with many other oils, which do not display so many beneficial health effects. Recently, key roles have been attributed to the minor components that are thought to make extra virgin olive oil, a fatty substance with exclusive chemical characteristics. Although representing only 2% of the weight of the oil, the minor components’ fraction includes more than 230 substances, belonging to varied chemical categories: tocopherols, polyphenols, squalene, flavors, pigments, sterols, and aroma. Evidence-based scientific outcomes, namely cause-effect relationships, have led competent authorities in many countries to formally recognize the nutritional and health properties of this Mediterranean Diet component.


Minor bioactive compounds Mediterranean diet Nutritional claim Health claim 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manel Issaoui
    • 1
    • 2
  • Amélia M. Delgado
    • 3
  1. 1.Lab-NAFS ‘Nutrition – Functional Food & Vascular Health’, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MonastirMonastirTunisia
  2. 2.Faculty of Science and Technology of Sidi BouzidUniversity of KairouanSidi BouzidTunisia
  3. 3.MeditBio – Centre for Mediterranean Bioresources and FoodUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal

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