Victor R. Preedy

Ronald Ross Watson

The olive tree is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world, and it is increasingly evident that the nutritional and health-promoting benefits of olives and olive oil are indeed based on scientific fact. In three sections, this book provides a collection of the latest research studies on the benefits of olive components, and the factors that may impact their efficacy.

Section 1: General aspects of olives and olive oil, covers the olive plant and production of olives and olive oil. The varieties and variations in table olives are discussed in relation to preparation and processing methods including the fermentation stage. Extraction can be achieved using pressure, percolation, or centrifugation. The advantage of centrifugation is that less labor is required, and oil yields tend to be higher. Stability, microbes, contaminants, adverse components, and processes including microbial aspects are considered. Pesticides and other adulterants, toxicology, and contaminants are also included. The analytical methods for natural components and adulterants are reviewed, including the use of electronic tongues and the electronic nose for the sensory assessment of olive oils, and the use of NIR.

Section 2: Nutritional, pharmacological, and metabolic properties of olives and olive oil, includes the nutrient profiles of commercial table olives. Table olives also provide a protective role to probiotic bacteria, as the olive carrier helps to display their ability in the gastro-intestinal tract. In baking, virgin olive oil is the most stable to heat, and its presence positively influences sensory properties, digestibility, shelf-life, and nutritional value of bakery products. The absorption of olive oil by fish and vegetables during domestic frying enriches them with health-promoting micro-constituents like squalene and phytosterols. The by-products of oil extraction such as the solid olive residue may have potentially new and alternative industrial applications because of their rich content of polyphenols.

There are several chapters relating to cancer, immunology, and inflammation. A study of the frying of meat showed that frying in olive oil for short times produced a more mutagenic crust extract than frying in sunflower oil, because the smoke temperature of olive oil is 10°C higher. The bactericidal action of virgin olive oil is higher than that of other foodstuffs such as wine, tea, coffee, and beer.

Section 3: Specific components of olive oil and their effects on tissue and body systems, covers tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, oleic acid, and other components found in olive plants and products. Various properties of hydroxytyrosol strengthen the hypothesis that minor compounds from olives possess chemopreventive activity against colon carcinogenesis. Oleuropein is a potent antioxidant that decreases total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Maslinic acid can be used as a feed additive to stimulate growth of rainbow trout.

There are some 450 contributors to this book, and chapters are well referenced with the majority having a useful summary points section. This extensive work will be of great interest to nutritionists, food scientists, physicians, pharmacologists, and chemists working with olives and olive oil.

Elsevier Imprint: Academic Press. Visit ISBN: 978-0-12-374420-3 2010 

Reviewed by Jeremy D. Selman, Director, FossatelloGroup, UK.

In This Article

  1. Food, Health and Nutrition