The positive effects linked to EVOO consumption are not only due to its major (monounsaturated fatty acids), but also to its minor components (phenolics), whose roles were greatly re-evaluated in the last years. Notwithstanding the huge number of studies demonstrating the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties of EVOO’s phenolic compounds, only their antioxidant ability was supported by a Health Claim. However, to bear the claim, a specific phenolic composition is needed, thus reinforcing the need to correlate the characterization of the phenolic compounds to their biological activity. In fact, although the chemical characterization of VOO’s phenolic compounds was extensively studied, its correlation with biological effects is only partially investigated; this is especially true for human studies.
This review aims to study the correlation between the chemical characterization of EVOO’s phenolics and the biological effects in terms of antioxidant/anti-inflammatory potentials, with a focus on the human studies and the relative concern on getting a specific Health Claim.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is one of the most important functional foods from the Mediterranean Diet (MD) and its consumption is linked to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular and chronic inflammatory diseases. The beneficial effect of olive oil on human health depends on the high content of both the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) (80% of its total lipid composition) and the phenolic compounds, polar molecules, whose extremely variable concentration is a function of agronomic and technological conditions. […]