The term “Functional Food” refers to certain foods or ingredients and their positive effects on human health.
Functional foods prevent or delay the onset of various diseases and illnesses, not the cure. This is due to the presence in them; compounds scavenge free radicals which damage our body. These compounds are known as antioxidants and phenolic structure, found in abundance in good quality olive oil. Lately there is much talking on phenolic compounds found in olive oil, such as oleuropein, elaiokanthal and elaiasin with enough research data on their role in health. The elaiokanthal specifically acts as an anti-inflammatory, just as the drug ibuprofen, due to the similar chemical structure.
Rightly therefore the oil included in basic functional foods such support and Professor Emeritus of Michigan State University, Mr. Pericles Markakis (published in IFT News, March 1999) and the writer in his latest book.
The «functional” olive oil with its antioxidants prevents oxidative stress which occurs when harmful free radicals generated in our body from various causes. More than 100 diseases are associated with oxidative stress, as Dr. Eugenio Iorio declares, President of the International Observatory of Oxidative Stress.
The consumer must then be aware that good quality extra virgin olive oil is a unique functional food with a huge contribution to the prevention of oxidative stress and protect our health. For the production of quality olive oil, however, a great care must be taken from those involved in all stages of the production process.
More information can be found in the book “Olive oil, Edible olives and Olive paste”
and here http://vimeo.com/terracreta/wwwvimeocom55339223 (Prof APOSTOLOS KYRITSAKIS M.SC., Ph.D PROFESSOR in OLIVE OIL and FATS)
and here http://vimeo.com/64013844 (Dr Prof Eugenio Luigi Iorio, MD, PhD; International Observatory of Oxidative Stress, Salerno, Italy)
Special thanks to APOSTOLOS KYRITSAKIS M.SC., Ph.D PROFESSOR in OLIVE OIL and FATS & PRESIDENT IN “THE GREEK OBSERVATORY OF OXIDATIVE STRESS”
(The chart provided by Professor Edward N Frankel, University of California, Davis)