Skip to main content

Olive oil

Virgin olive oil is a functional food, which in addition to having a high level of monounsaturated fatty acids contains minor components with biological properties. The major phenolic compounds in olive oil are: simple phenols such as hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol and secoiridoids which are the dialdehydic form of oleuropein and ligstroside lacking of a carboxymethyl group, and the aglycone form of oleuropein and ligstroside. Olive oil quality is related to the chemical composition, its oxidative stability and sensory characteristics. These parameters are affected by pedoclimatic conditions, agronomic practices, olive cultivar, degree of maturity of the olives and  the parameters of the processing technology in the olive mills.

Olive oil is the fat of choice in the Mediterranean area, where the diet has been associated with a lower incidence of coronary heart disease and certain cancers. The biological benefits of virgin olive oil in preventing the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) would seem to be linked to its high monounsaturated fatty acid contents, but also to its phenolic content.

Principally, our research group has been involved in the development of methodologies for the characterization of phenolic profile, α-tocopherol and β-carotene in virgin olive oil, hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol in human urine, and metabolites of specific olive oil phenolic compounds associated with the low-density lipoprotein fraction.

We have also conducted multiple clinical trials in humans in order  to study the bioavailability of these compounds and their metabolites in plasma and urine, which support the hypothesis that a daily intake of virgin olive oil promotes protective LDL changes ahead of its oxidation.

Furthermore the effects of harvesting, the different processing systems and the parameters applied to the malaxation procedure on olive oil quality were studied.

GROUP PUBLICATION

  • Bulló, M., Lamuela-Raventós, R., Salas-Salvadó, J. Mediterranean diet and oxidation: Nuts and olive oil as important sources of fat and antioxidants. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. 2011;11(14):1797-810.
  • De La Torre-Carbot, K., Chávez-Servín, J.L., Jaúregui, O., Castellote, A.I., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Nurmi, T., Poulsen, H.E., Gaddi, A.V., Kaikkonen, J., Zunft, H.-F., Kiesewetter, H., Fitó, M., Covas, M.-I., López-Sabater, M.C. Elevated circulating LDL phenol levels in men who consumed virgin rather than refined olive oil are associated with less oxidation of plasma LDL. Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140(3):501-8.
  • Zazpe, I., Estruch, R., Toledo, E., Sánchez-Taínta, A., Corella, D., Bulló, M., Fiol, M., Iglesias, P., Gómez-Gracia, E., Arós, F., Ros, E., Schröder, H., Serra-Majem, L., Pintó, X., Lamuela-Raventós, R., Ruiz-Gutiérrez, V, Martínez-González, M.Á. Predictors of adherence to a Mediterranean-type diet in the PREDIMED trial. European Journal of Nutrition. 2010;49(2):91-9.
  • Llorente-Cortés, V., Estruch, R., Mena, M.P., Ros, E., González, M.A.M., Fitó, M., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Badimon, L. Effect of Mediterranean diet on the expression of pro-atherogenic genes in a population at high cardiovascular risk. Atherosclerosis. 2010;208(2):442-50.
  • Mena, M.-P., Sacanella, E., Vazquez-Agell, M., Morales, M., Fitó, M., Escoda, R., Serrano-Martínez, M., Salas-Salvadó, J., Benages, N., Casas, R., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Masanes, F., Ros, E., Estruch, R. Inhibition of circulating immune cell activation: A molecular antiinflammatory effect of the Mediterranean diet. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009;89(1):248-56.
  • Boselli, E., Di Lecce, G., Strabbioli, R., Pieralisi, G., Frega, N.G. Are virgin olive oils obtained below 27 °C better than those produced at higher temperatures? Food Science and Technology. 2009;42(3):748-57.
  • Di Lecce, G., Loizzo, M.R., Boselli, E., Giomo, A., Frega, N.G. Chemical and sensory characterization of virgin olive oils from Campania. Progress in Nutrition. 2009;11(3):170-7.
  • Salas-Salvadó, J., Fernández-Ballart, J., Ros, E., Martínez-González, M.-A., Fitó, M., Estruch, R., Corella, D., Fiol, M., Gómez-Gracia, E., Arós, F., Flores, G., Lapetra, J., Lamuela-Raventós, R., Ruiz-Gutiérrez, V., Bulló, M., Basora, J., Covas, M.-I. Effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts on metabolic syndrome status: One-year results of the PREDIMED randomized trial. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2008;168(22):2449-58.
  • Zazpe, I., Sanchez-Tainta, A., Estruch, R., Lamuela-Raventos, R.M., Schröder, H., Salas-Salvado, J., Corella, D., Fiol, M., Gomez-Gracia, E., Aros, F., Ros, E., Ruíz-Gutierrez, V., Iglesias, P., Conde-Herrera, M., Martinez-Gonzalez, M.A. A Large Randomized Individual and Group Intervention Conducted by Registered Dietitians Increased Adherence to Mediterranean-Type Diets: The PREDIMED Study.  Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2008;108(7):1134-44.
  • Gimeno, E., de la Torre-Carbot, K., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Castellote, A.I., Fitó, M., de la Torre, R., Covas, M.-I., López-Sabater, M.C. Changes in the phenolic content of low density lipoprotein after olive oil consumption in men. A randomized crossover controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition. 2007;98 (6):1243-50.
  • de la Torre-Carbot, K., Chávez-Servín, J.L., Jaúregui, O., Castellote, A.I., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Fitó, M., Covas, M.-I., Muñoz-Aguayo, D., López-Sabater, M.C. Presence of virgin olive oil phenolic metabolites in human low density lipoprotein fraction: Determination by high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. Analytica Chimica Acta. 2007;583(2):402-10.
  • Boselli, E., Di Lecce, G., Minardi, M., Pacetti, D., Frega, N.G. Mass spectrometry in the analysis of polar minor components in virgin olive oil. Rivista Italiana delle Sostanze Grasse. 2007;84 (1):3-14.
  • Di Lecce, G., Bendini, A., Cerretani, L., Bonoli-Carbognin, M., Lercker, G. Evaluation of "home consumption conditions" on shelf-life of extra virgin olive oils. Industrie Alimentari. 2006;45 (461):880-6.
  • Covas, M.-I., Ruiz-Gutiérrez, V., De La Torre, R., Kafatos, A., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Osada, J., Owen, R.W., Visioli, F. Minor components of olive oil: Evidence to date of health benefits in humans. Nutrition Reviews. 2006;64(10 SUPPL. 1):S20-S30.
  • de la Torre-Carbot, K., Jauregui, O., Castellote, A.I., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Covas, M.-I., Casals, I., López-Sabater, M.C. Rapid high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry method for qualitative and quantitative analysis of virgin olive oil phenolic metabolites in human low-density lipoproteins. Journal of Chromatography A. 2006;1116(1-2):69-75. 
  • Covas, M.-I., De La Torre, K., Farré-Albaladejo, M., Kaikkonen, J., Fitó, M., López-Sabater, C., Pujadas-Bastardes, M.A., Joglar, J., Weinbrenner, T., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M. De La Torre, R. Postprandial LDL phenolic content and LDL oxidation are modulated by olive oil phenolic compounds in humans. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2006;40(4):608-16.
  • Perez-Jimenez, F., Alvarez De Cienfuegos, G., Badimon, L., Barja, G., Battino, M., Blanco, A., Bonanome, A., Colomer, R., Corella-Piquer, D., Covas, I., Chamorro-Quiros, J., Escrich, E., Gaforio, J.J., Garcia Luna, P.P., Hidalgo, L., Kafatos, A., Kris-Etherton, P.M., Lairon, D., Lamuela-Raventos, R., Lopez-Miranda, J., Lopez-Segura, F., Martinez-Gonzalez, M.A., Mata, P., Mataix, J., Ordovas, J., Osada, J., Pacheco-Reyes, R., Perucho, M., Pineda-Priego, M., Quiles, J.L., Ramirez-Tortosa, M.C., Ruiz-Gutierrez, V., Sanchez-Rovira, P., Solfrizzi, V., Soriguer-Escofet, F., De La Torre-Fornell, R., Trichopoulos, A., Villalba-Montoro, J.M., Villar-Ortiz, J.R. Visioli, F. International conference on the healthy effect of virgin olive oil. European Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2005;35(7):421-4.
  • Pérez-Jiménez, F., Álvarez De Cienfuegos, G., Badimón, L., Barja, G., Battino, M., Blanco, A., Bonanome, A., Colomer, R., Corella-Piquer, D., Covas, I., Chamorro-Quirós, J., Escrich, E., Gaforio, J.J., García Luna, P.P., Hidalgo-Ardanaz, L., Kafatos, A., Kris-Etherton, P.M., Lairon, D., Lamuela-Raventós, R., López-Miranda, J., López-Segura, F., Martínez-González, M.A., Mata, P., Mataix, J., Ordovás, J., Osada, J., Pacheco-Reyes, R., Perucho, M., Pineda-Priego, M., Quiles, J.L., Ramírez-Tortosa, M.C., Ruiz-Gutiérrez, V., Sánchez-Rovira, P., Solfrizzi, V., Soriguer-Escofet, F., De La Torre-Fornell, R., Trichopoulos, A., Villalba-Montoro, J.M., Villar-Ortiz, J.R., Visioli, F. The Jaen Statement 2004: Consensus document of the International Conference on the healthy effects of virgin olive oil. Revista Espanola de Obesidad. 2005;3(4):212-7.
  • De La Torre-Carbot, K., Jauregui, O., Gimeno, E., Castellote, A.I., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., López-Sabater, M.C. Characterization and quantification of phenolic compounds in olive oils by solid-phase extraction, HPLC-DAD, and HPLC-MS/MS. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2005;53(11):4331-40.
  • Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Gimeno, E., Fitó, M., Castellote, A.-I., Covas, M., De la Torre-Boronat, M.C., López-Sabater, M.C. Interaction of olive oil phenol antioxidant components with low-density lipoprotein. Biological Research. 2004;37(2):247-52.
  • Gimeno, E., Castellote, A.I., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., De la Torre, M.C., López-Sabater, M.C. The effects of harvest and extraction methods on the antioxidant content (phenolics, α-tocopherol, and β-carotene) in virgin olive oil. Food Chemistry. 2002;78(2):207-11.
  • Gimeno, E., Fitó, M., Lamuela-Raventós, R.M., Castellote, A.I, Covas, M., Farré, M., de la Torre-Boronat, M.C., López-Sabater, M.C. Effect of ingestion of virgin olive oil on human low-density lipoprotein composition. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002;56(2):114-20.
  • Covas, M.I., Fitó, M., Marrugat, J., Miró, E., Farré, M., De la Torre, R., Gimeno, E., López-Sabater, M.C., Lamuela-Raventós, R.,, De la Torre-Boronat, H.C. Coronary heart disease protective factors: Antioxidant effect of olive oil. Therapie. 2001;56 (5):607-11.
  • Miró-Casas, E., Farré Albaladejo, M., Covas, M.-I., Rodriguez, J.O., Menoyo Colomer, E., Lamuela Raventós, R.M., De La Torre, R. Capillary gas chromatography-mass spectrometry quantitative determination of hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol in human urine after olive oil intake. Analytical Biochemistry. 2001;294(1):63-72.