Article

Vasculoprotective potential of olive oil components

Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara, Chieta, Abruzzo, Italy
Molecular Nutrition & Food Research (Impact Factor: 4.91). 10/2007; 51(10):1225-34. DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.200600305
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Epidemiological and clinical studies found that the traditional Mediterranean-style diet is associated with significantly lower mortality from coronary artery disease. Although it is difficult to isolate individual dietary factors, cumulative evidence suggests that olive oil, used as primary source of fat by Mediterranean populations, may play a key role in the observed cardiovascular benefit. Olive oil is a priceless source of vitamins and polyphenolic antioxidants, and has a balanced ratio of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are multiple mechanisms by which olive oil might impact the development of atherosclerosis. Olive oil decreases LDL-cholesterol and increases HDL-cholesterol, and also reduces oxidative stress due to polyphenols, which are able to scavenge free radicals and protect LDL from oxidation. In addition, olive oil components may interfere with the inflammatory response within atherosclerotic lesion, by inhibiting endothelial activation involved in monocyte recruitment during early atherogenesis and macrophage production of inflammatory cytokines and matrix degrading enzymes, thus improving vascular stability. Other vasculoprotective mechanisms by olive oil components derive from anti-thrombotic and anti-hypertensive actions. The available data support the need to preserve certain dietary traditions, such as olive oil consumption, to counteract the burden of cardiovascular disease.

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