Olive Oil is synonymous with health.  There is more research about olive oil than any other fat on the planet.  Olive Oil is most famous for its standing in the Mediterranean diet and is attributed as one of the main reasons why people in the Mediterranean live longer, have youthful skin but let’s look at the facts about olive oil and research:

Olive Oil Nutrition

The main fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFA.  MUFA are considered a healthy dietary fat or a good fat {1}.

Olive Oil contains modest amounts of Vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids.

This is the nutrient content of 100 grams of olive oil:

  • Saturated fat: 13.8%.
  • Monounsaturated fat: 73% (most of it the 18 carbon long oleic acid).
  • Omega-6: 9.7%.
  • Omega-3: 0.76%.
  • Vitamin E: 72% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin K: 75% of the RDA.

But where extra virgin olive oil really shines is in its content of antioxidants {2}.

Olive Oil appears to be protective against cardiovascular disease

  • Reduced inflammation: As mentioned above, olive oil protects against inflammation, a key driver of heart disease (1718).
  • LDL cholesterol: Olive oil protects LDL particles from oxidative damage – a key step in the heart disease process (19).
  • Improves endothelial function: Olive oil improves the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels (2021).
  • Blood clotting: Some studies suggest that olive oil can help prevent unwanted blood clotting, key features of heart attacks and strokes (2223).
  • Lower blood pressure: One study in patients with elevated blood pressure found that olive oil reduced blood pressure significantly and cut the need for blood pressure meds by 48% (24).
  • It is unknown whether individuals at high cardiovascular risk sustain a benefit in cardiovascular disease from increased olive oil consumption. The aim was to assess the association between total olive oil intake, its varieties (extra virgin and common olive oil) and the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in a Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk.  Olive oil consumption, specifically the extra-virgin variety, is associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and mortality in individuals at high cardiovascular risk {5}.

Olive Oil Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A study published in the scientific journal Diabetes Care showed that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduced the risk of type II diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet. Type II diabetes is the most common and preventable form of diabetes {4}

 

Study finds olive oil  ‘lowers stroke risk by 41%’

“Olive oil staves off stroke in the elderly,” reported The Daily Telegraph . It said that a study has found that a diet rich in olive oil lowers the risk of having a stroke in later life by more than a third.  This study looked at about 8,000 people over 65 and found that those who had plenty of olive oil in their diet had a 41% lower risk of a stroke than those who never used olive oil. {6}

 

Olive oil may reduce the risk of skin photoaging

Intake of monounsaturated fatty acids has been reported to reduce oxidative stress, insulin resistance and related inflammatory processes and may thus protect from skin photoaging. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between the risk of photoaging, monounsaturated fatty acids intake and the sources of monounsaturated fatty acids.

 

For both sexes, a higher consumption of MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) provided by vegetable oils was found to be associated with a lower risk of severe photoaging. No association was found with MUFA intake from dairy products, meats and processed meats. Finally, of the three most frequently consumed oils (sunflower, olive and peanut oil), a significant association was found for olive oil. A higher intake of olive oil was significantly associated with a lower risk of severe photoaging. {7}

 

Summary

There is always an abundance of olive oil research, the health benefits of olive oil are proven and well documented.  The best healthful product is one that is full of phenols and phenols are the flavour.  So flavour of olive oil = HEALTH!

 

References:

  1. MUFA:  https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/food-and-nutrition/faq-20058439
  2. Nutrient composition:  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/extra-virgin-olive-oil#section2
  3. Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil is The Healthiest Far on Earth:  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/extra-virgin-olive-oil
  4. Olive Oil Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes:  https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-health-news/olive-oil-diet-reduces-diabetes-risk/15948
  5. Olive Oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030221/
  6. Study finds olive oil  ‘lowers stroke risk’:  https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/study-finds-olive-oil-lowers-stroke-risk/
  7. Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids intake and risk of skin photoaging:  http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0044490