Olive Oil: nutritional supplement or common food?
Recent advances in olive oil research reinforce its prolonged benefits for our health, with clinical applications varying from neuroscience to cancer research. The olive oil world in Greece is divided in those who believe in its unique health benefits and treat it as a nutritional supplement – as confirmed through recent advances in medical research and clinical trials – and those who think that olive oil belongs to the category of common food. Of course, there is a distance between high-phenolic olive oil and common olive oil, which mainly depends on harvesting, milling and storage conditions. Under the surface, the long-standing dispute has a truly fascinating background. Olive oil is certainly the iconic “symbol” of the Mediterranean diet, whose benefits have been numerously studied and reported the last 50 years. This dispute has political and socioeconomic roots and symbolizes our food trends, our perception of the food we eat, our time to examine what it contains, our life stance.
Based on current scientific evidence and the recent recognition from the European Food Safety Authority, olive oil polyphenols contribute to the blood lipids from oxidative stress according to the EU Regulation 432/2012. the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 20g of olive oil and within a healthy and balanced diet and nutrition. The product carrying the claim should contain at least 5mg of hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol or their derivatives, that is equivalent to 250mg/kg of total phenolic compounds. Advancements in all parts of the olive oil production process can now guarantee total phenolic compounds that exceed 1000mg/kg.
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*Nutritional supplements are products containing one or more concentrated nutrients or other substances, whose purpose is to supplement our daily diet when this is not balanced. They do not belong to the category of common foods – They are not drugs according to current provisions – They are not Special Dietary Foods
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