According to an academic study in California, it is estimated that the quality of extra virgin olive oil is directly linked to the health benefits.
The Greek extra virgin olive oil, rich in oleocanthal, can protect the cardiovascular system,according to a clinical study conducted at the Nutrition Department of the University of California, Davis, and the Research Nutrition Center of the US Department of Agriculture in California and funded by Gaea company and Captain Vassilis Foundation.
As Prokopios Magiatis, associate professor, and Dr. Eleni Melliou, Department of Pharmacy of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, reported during today`s special event, the extra virgin olive oils contains a wide range of natural ingredients whose relative concentration differs very much between different olive varieties.
Many of these chemical compounds have proved to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. While the term “total phenols” of oil is accepted as a measure of its antioxidant capacity, its “pharmaceutical” activity may be derived from certain compounds. One example is oleocanthal, which binds to the spicy sensation in the throat caused by certain fresh and high quality olive oils.
“Oleocanthal” – a natural medicine
The results showed that for those who consumed the Greek extra virgin olive oil, the oleocanthal behaved like a natural medicine for protection of the cardiovascular system.
“This pioneering study showed very significant findings and opens the way for a new more extensive study on a larger population group in order to explore in depth the factors due to which olive oil has medicinal properties”, Mr. Magiatis, study coordinator states.
The “lead” of Greek olive oil
Dr. Eleni Melliou, responsible for cooperation between the University of Athens and the olive center of the University of California, noted that “new tools such as the NMR method or Aristoleo method, discovered at the University of Athens, can accurately measure the concentration of oleocanthal and oleosin in olive oil, and they are extremely useful to distinguish quality oils with the strongest health protective actions”. She added that Greece could become the first country in the world producing olive oil with vasoprotective properties.
The CEO of Gaea Company, Aris Kefalogiannis,stated: “The results justify our belief that the quality of extra virgin olive oil is directly linked to the health benefits. Even more important discovery is that high quality extra virgin Greek olive oil of Koroneiki variety offers not only unbeatable culinary enjoyment, but also effective protection against thrombosis and heart diseases in general”.
“Quality is a unique opportunity for the Greek olive oil and must be supported by all Greek authorities”, Xenophon Kappas, director of Captain Vassilis Foundation, stressed.