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Yale University Researches Health Benefits of Organic Olives from Greece

Sakellaropoulos olive groves
The Sakellaropoulos family’s olive groves, with the Taygetos Mountain in the background. Yale University will soon embark on new research on the health benefits of organic Greek olives. Credit: Sakellaropoulos Organic Farming

Researchers at Yale University in the US will conduct new research on the health benefits associated with daily consumption of table olives.

The research will be conducted by the Yale School of Public Health and the Department of Cardiology at Yale School of Medicine, it was announced on Thursday. The project is being carried out as part of the activities related to the establishment of the proposed Yale Olive Sciences and Health Institute (YOSHI).

Through academic, public and industry partnerships, YOSHI will foster the investigation and dissemination of evidence-based best practices pertaining both to sustainable olive and olive oil production, and their downstream health benefits.

The idea and mission of the Institute has been widely supported. More than 70 international and national academic, research and private bodies have offered their support. The study, which is titled “Olives For Health,” has as its purpose is to assess the benefits of the daily consumption of table olives.

The research project is led by two prominent Greek professors from the Yale School of Public Health: Dr. Vasilis Vasiliou, Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Dr. Tassos C. Kyriakides, Researcher in Epidemiology, Bio-statistics and Clinical Trials.

Yale research uses organic Kalamata olives

For the Yale project, organic Kalamata table olives with a high polyphenol content grown by Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms, ( from Sparta, Laconia and Greece were selected.

These are organically grown olives, produced without pasteurization, with a natural fermentation process. They have no chemical additives or preservatives. Additionally, the organic olives from Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms have extremely high levels of phenols.

These phenols have been attributed with antioxidant and cardio-protective properties. The Sakellaropoulos’ organic olives were chosen for their exclusive use in the study because of their high phenolic content – thus their potential health benefits.

The research project is currently in the final approval stages by Yale University’s Institutional Review Board. It is scheduled to begin in January of 2022.

George Sakellaropoulos, the founder and owner of Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms, said it is an honor to have his farm’s olives selected for the Yale research project. He has been dedicated to producing organic olive oil for almost 30 years now.

Sakellaropoulos family
Three generations of the Sakellaropoulos family, with George on the left. Credit: Sakellaropoulos Organic Farming

Organic farming is the great passion of Sakellaropoulos’ life

In an exclusive interview with Greek Reporter last September, Sakellaropoulos spoke about his life’s passion, which is organic farming. “Organic farming is a completely natural farm practice, but also a philosophy of working together with nature,” he explained.

“It involves a plethora of benefits, compared to many unsustainable practices. We do not use any toxic chemicals to increase production. So we are protecting humans from unnecessary harm, and the natural microorganisms found in nature, promoting biodiversity.

“Simultaneously, organic farming is a means to reduce environmental and water pollution. We also avoid the damage done over the years to the local environment, including the different species that coexist with each farm,” he pointed out.

“I have always trusted in the health protective value of our olive products,” he said on Friday about the Yale research project. “I believe that they belong to the category of bio-functional foods.

“It is a great honor for us to see our products being chosen to participate in such high-level research projects by university institutions.”

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