Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, is a major component of the Mediterranean diet.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are considered a healthy dietary fat, as opposed to saturated fats and trans fats.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.
What is olive oil?
Olive oil is a fat obtained from the fruit of the Olea europaea (olive tree), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean region, where whole olives are pressed to produce olive oil.
The oil is used in cosmetics, medicine, cooking and soaps, and was also used as a fuel for traditional lamps. Although originating in the Mediterranean countries, today it is used worldwide.
Greece has the highest olive oil intake per person in the world. Greeks consume, on average, 24 liters per-person-per-year, according to the acute pancreatitis (resource no longer available at www.aboutoliveoil.org) and protecting your liver. We also look at the nutritional breakdown of olive oil.