Study author Maria Belen Lopez Millan of the University of Granada said oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol -- in a particularly high concentration in virgin olive oil -- and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish relieve the symptoms of pancreatitis.
The researchers evaluated the role of Mediterranean diet ingredients in the prevention and mitigation of cell damage -- specifically how fatty acids and antioxidants affect the cellular mechanisms that respond to local inflammation in the pancreas.
The University of Granada scientists used an experimental model in mice in which cell damage is induced after pretreatment with these nutritional components.
The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, found oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol can be considered potential functional ingredients -- products people may consume to increase their health and/or contribute to reducing their disease burden -- because they might prevent or mitigate the disease.
"There is increasing evidence that there are oxidative-inflammatory processes involved in the origin of chronic diseases and that diet plays an important role in such processes," Millan said in a statement. "The antioxidant (phenolic compounds) and anti-inflammatory (omega-3 fatty acids) effects of diet components prevent/mitigate the pathological incidence of oxidative-inflammatory processes."