Olive oil and modulation of cell signaling in disease prevention
Sommaire de l'article
Epidemiological studies show that populations consuming a predominantly plant-based Mediterranean-style diet exhibit lower incidences of chronic diseases than those eating a northern European or North American diet. This observation has been attributed to the greater consumption of fruits and vegetables and the lower consumption of animal products, particularly fat. Although total fat intake in Mediterranean populations can be higher than in other regions (ca. 40% of calories), the greater proportion is derived from olive oil and not animals. Increased olive oil consumption is implicated in a reduction in cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and, to a lesser extent, a variety of cancers. Olive oil intake also has been shown to modulate immune function, particularly the inflammatory processes associated with the immune system. Olive oil is a nonoxidative dietary component, and the attenuation of the inflammatory process it elicits could explain its beneficial effects on disease risk since oxidative and inflammatory stresses appear to be underlying factors in the etiology of these diseases in man. The antioxidant effects of olive oil are probably due to a combination of its high oleic acid content (low oxidation potential compared with linoleic acid) and its content of a variety of plant antioxidants, particularly oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol. It is also possible that the high oleic acid content and a proportionate reduction in linoleic acid intake would allow a greater conversion of (x-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to longer-chain n-3 PUFA, which have characteristic health benefits. Adoption of a Mediterranean diet could confer health benefits in high-risk populations.