Given their beneficial potential on human health, plant food bioactive molecules are important components influencing nutrition. Polyphenols have been widely acknowledged for their potentially protective role against several complex diseases. In particular, the polyphenols of olive oil (OOPs) emerge as the key components of many healthy diets and have been widely studied for their beneficial properties. The qualitative and quantitative profile defining the composition of olive oil phenolic molecules as well as their absorbance and metabolism once ingested are key aspects that need to be considered to fully understand the health potential of these molecules. In this review, we provide an overview of the key aspects influencing these variations by focusing on the factors influencing the biosynthesis of OOPs and the findings about their absorption and metabolism. Despite the encouraging evidence, the health potential of OOPs is still debated due to limitations in current studies. Clinical trials are necessary to fully understand and validate the beneficial effects of olive oil and OOPs on human health. We provide an update of the clinical trials based on olive oil and/or OOPs that aim to understand their beneficial effects. Tailored studies are needed to standardize the polyphenolic distribution and understand the variables associated with phenol-enriched OO. An in-depth knowledge of the steps that occur following polyphenol ingestion may reveal useful insights to be used in clinical settings for the prevention and treatment of many diseases.
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