Virgin olive oil: a key food for cardiovascular risk protection

Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113 Suppl 2:S19-28. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515000136.


Olive oil is considered to be one of the most healthy dietary fats. However, several types of olive oils are present in the market. A key question for the consumer is: What of the olive oils is the best when concerning nutritional purposes? With the data available at present, the answer is: the Virgin Olive Oil (VOO), rich in phenolic compounds. On November 2011, the European Food Safety Authority released a claim concerning the benefits of daily ingestion of olive oil rich in phenolic compounds, such as VOO. In this review, we summarised the key work that has provided the evidence of the benefits of VOO consumption on other types of edible oils, even olive oils. We focused on data from randomised, controlled human studies, which are capable of providing the evidence of Level I that is required for performing nutritional recommendations at population level.

Keywords: Virgin olive oil; cardiovascular risk; hydroxytyrosol; polyphenols; tyrosol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / analysis
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / immunology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / analysis
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / standards
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / therapeutic use*
  • European Union
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Olive Oil
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / therapeutic use
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / standards
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Olive Oil
  • Phenols
  • Plant Oils