'Olive oil and health'

The headquarters of the General Council of the Official Medical Associations in Madrid hosted the presentation of the book "Olive Oils and Health. Benefits of Virgin Olive Oils". According to its editor, Dr. Eduard Escrich, the main aim of the book is to "provide the proven scientific evidence that exists to date on the health benefits of olive oils and to do so in an informative way. The book is aimed at the general public and specifically at professionals and those in charge of public and corporate administrations who may have some kind of relationship with food and health, without forgetting those involved in the food chain".

Dr. Escrich, who, together with his team at the University of Barcelona, has achieved important advances in the knowledge of the effects of fat consumption on the development of breast cancer, emphasised that the work also has to fulfil the function of "urging citizens to be critical of the messages they receive about food and to consult reliable sources of information; as well as nutritional education for health and its dissemination with the aim of contributing to improving the population's eating habits".

This new work has been made possible thanks to the support of two key institutions in the olive oil sector that have been promoting innovation for years, also in the field of health: Fundación Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero and Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español. In this sense, the president of the Fundación Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero, Rafael Sánchez de Puerta, stated that "today is undoubtedly a day of congratulations for the whole sector. The publication of this book, with a markedly informative character, represents a new milestone in our objective of raising the profile of olive oils in society".

In fact, the president of Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español, Pedro Barato, highlighted the role of the new book as an informative work, especially among the health sector: "A year and a half ago we carried out a survey among Spanish doctors, who told us that an overwhelming majority of them recommended their patients to consume, fundamentally, extra virgin olive oil. But at the same time, 86.5% were unable to specify the nutritional claims that the European Union has recognised for olive oils. It is logical, therefore, that 97% of those surveyed considered it necessary to carry out communication actions to inform health professionals about these benefits. Today, with the presentation of this book, we are providing a first response to this request".

The book, which has forewords by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, and the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, provides an exhaustive review of the latest advances in olive oils and health in 18 chapters. From an introduction to fats in the diet, their specific benefits from their use in cooking, to the beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, diabetes, their role in controlling obesity, inflammation and preventing certain types of cancer. To this end, 36 top-level authors have contributed, including world-renowned figures such as Dr. Ramón Estruch, José María Ordovás, Miguel Ángel Martínez, Ángel Gil and José López-Miranda.