Olive Oil and Health Effects

  • Álvaro Hernáez
  • Julieta Valussi
  • Alejandra Pérez-Vega
  • Olga Castañer
  • Montserrat FitóEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Reference Series in Phytochemistry book series (RSP)


Beneficial health effects of olive oil and its phenolics are presented in light of the Mediterranean diet (MD), which is characterized by (1) a high intake of cereals, vegetables including leafy greens, legumes, nuts, and fruit; (2) a moderate intake of poultry, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products, as well as a regular but moderate ethanol consumption (generally in the form of wine during meals); and (3) a low intake of red and processed meat and industrial confectionary. Olive oil (OO) is the main fat used in all preparations of the MD. The health benefits of consuming OO have been known since antiquity and were traditionally attributed to its high MUFA content, mainly oleic acid. A large number of epidemiological and laboratory studies suggest beneficial and protective effects of OO in reduced risk of suffering cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, certain cancers, and neurodegenerative diseases. Potential effects of OO on various diseases-related parameters are discussed in relation to OO and its phenolics.


Olive oil Mediterranean diet Phenolic compounds Virgin olive oil PUFA MUFA 



C-reactive protein


European Food Safety Agency


Gc protein-derived macrophage activating factor


High-density lipoprotein


Intercellular adhesion molecule-1




Low-density lipoprotein


Mediterranean diet


Monounsaturated fatty acid


Olive oil


Olive oil phenolic compound


Polyunsaturated fatty acid


Saturated fatty acid


Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1


Virgin olive oil



This work was supported by: Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca (2014-SGR-240), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (CB06/03/0028, JR14/00008, JR17/00022, CD17/00122, and CES12/025), and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (FPU12/01318). The CIBER de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN) is an initiative of the Instituto de Salud Carlos III.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Álvaro Hernáez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Julieta Valussi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alejandra Pérez-Vega
    • 1
    • 2
  • Olga Castañer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Montserrat Fitó
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group (CARIN)Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.CIBER of the Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN)Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mediques (IMIM)BarcelonaSpain

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