Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

There are a wide range of well-evidenced health benefits related to Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

  • Prevention of Overall Mortality
  • Prevention of CVD, Coronary Heart Disease, and Myocardial Infarction
  • Prevention of Diabetes or improved Glycaemic Control in existing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Reduction in Overall Cancer Incidence
  • Prevention of Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Prevention of Mood Disorders
  • Reversal of Fatty Liver Disease
  • Prevention of Overweight and Obesity

Olives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the main source of healthy fat, with additional powerful bioactive compounds, is central to the Mediterranean Diet. There is increasing evidence describing the unique and powerful role of Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the heart of the numerous regional variations of the Mediterranean Diet. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a crucial enabler of a diet rich in vegetables, making a plant predominant diet enjoyable and sustainable.

The Mediterranean style diet is now recommended by governments, scientists and health professionals as an example of a nutritional gold standard with a considerable body of evidence to support very significant beneficial effects on health and wellness.

The Mediterranean Diet is a nutritional recommendation based on the traditional dietary patterns of Southern Europe. This diet is characterised by the high consumption of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables; moderate to high consumption of fish and dairy products; and low consumption of non-fish meat. In 2013, UNESCO listed the Mediterranean diet as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Research shows that consuming between 25 and 50 mL of Extra Virgin Olive Oil per day is associated with health benefits, especially for heart health (e.g. cholesterol and blood pressure health).1-18

Evidence shows that people who consume a Mediterranean style diet enjoy various health benefits

 

Evidence Table: Mediterranean Diet, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and chronic disease.

Effect
Prevention of Overall Mortality
Prevention of CVD, Coronary Heart Disease, and Myocardial Infarction
Prevention of Diabetes or improved Glycemic Control in existing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Reduction in Overall Cancer Incidence
Prevention of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Prevention of Mood Disorders
Reversal of Fatty Liver Disease
Prevention of Overweight and Obesity
Details

Reduced overall mortality 19-21

Reduced mortality from CVD 19-21

Reduced mortality from cancer 19-21

Reduced risk of primary and secondary CVD via reduction in associated risk factors such as:

  • ↓ blood pressure 19, 21-31
  • improved blood lipid profile (↓Triglycerides, Total Cholesterol and Low-Density Lipoprotein-oxidation; ↑High Density Lipoproteins) 21-23, 25-27, 32-35
  • ↓ in endothelial dysfunction  19-21, 22, 25, 27, 28
  • ↓ Body Mass Index (BMI) 19, 22
  • ↓ Waist Circumference (WC) 19,22, 36

Reduced inflammation:

  • overall 30% reduction in CVD mortality with Mediterranean Diet and EVOO vs low fat diet 23
  • ↓ oxidative stress and inflammation 19, 22-24, 26, 27
  • ↓ incidence of T2DM 24, 37, 38
  • ↓ body weight 36
  • ↑ glucose metabolism in existing T2DM 36, 38-40
  • ↓ fasting glucose and insulin 38, 41, 42
  • ↑ insulin sensitivity 38, 41-43
  • ↑ vasodilation 40
  • ↓ HbA1c in an Australian population with existing T2DM (7.1% to 6.8%); 55% relative risk reduction of developing diabetes 39
  • Convincing evidence of a reduction in breast cancer specifically and overall cancer incidence or mortality 44
  • Suggestive evidence for a reduction in gastric, pancreatic, liver and head/neck cancer 44
  • Improved cognitive function in cognitively healthy participants, and 13% reduction in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease 45
  • Reduction in severity of depression in individuals with existing depression 46-47
  • Reduced liver steatosis and improved insulin sensitivity in an insulin-resistant in individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, independent of weight loss 48
  • Positive relationship between adherence to Mediterranean Diet and weight management/BMI 49-62

The UC Davis Olive Centre have prepared two reports relating to Olive Oil for health, relating to blood lipids and blood pressure.31, 34

‘The UC Davis Olive Center is a self-funded university/industry coalition that seeks to do for olives what UC Davis did for wine. The world-renowned center brings together nearly 60 UC faculty members, research specialists and farm advisors who address the research and education needs of California olive growers and processors. The center also collaborates with institutions worldwide.’

These reports can be accessed below:
http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/publications/olive-oil-as-medicine
http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/research/files/blood-lipid_updated

 

References

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  7. Hernaez A, Fernandez-Castillejo S, Ferries M et al. Olive oil biophenols enhance high-density lipoprotein function in humans: a randomized controlled trial. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology Journal of the American Heart Association. 2014;34:2115–9.
  8. Dinu M, Pagliai G, Casini A et al. Mediterranean diet and multiple health outcomes: an umbrella review of meta-analyses of observational studies and randomised trials. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017;27(1):doi:10.1038/ejcn.2017.58.
  9. Widmer R, Flammer A, Lerman L et al. The Mediterranean diet, it’s components, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Med. 2015;128(3):229–38.
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  14. FDA Qualified Health Claims, Evidence from International Regulator FDA https://www.fda.gov/food/labelingnutrition/ucm073992.htm#cardio
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  27. Moreno-Luna R, Munoz-Hernandez R, Miranda ML, et al. Olive oil polyphenols decrease blood pressure and improve endothelial function in young women with mild hypertension. Am J Hypertens. 2012;25:1299–304.
  28. Widmer R, Freund M, Flammer A et al. Beneficial effects of polyphenol-rich olive oil in patients with early atherosclerosis. Eur J Nutr. 2013;52:1223–31.
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    At: http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/publications/olive-oil-as-medicine
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    At: http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu/research/files/blood-lipid_updated
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