The short answer to the question Could olive oil prevent heart attacks and strokes is “yes”.  The longer answer is which olive oil, how much does it take and how doe s it do this?

According to the American Heart Association, polyphenols in olive oil can be used to protect the heart while providing consumers with a healthy fat. There are multiple studies and olive oil facts that help to illustrate these health benefits. 

Heart Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Researchers around the world have studied the anti-inflammatory agents, the anti–oxidants and the vitamins in olive polyphenols and olive oil.  Studies show benefits such as higher HDL (good cholesterol), lower total cholesterol, lower supine blood pressure, and better arterial function from the consistent consumption of the polyphenols in olive oil.  In one study, after factoring in lifestyle and diet elements, people who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day were at a 15% reduced risk for all forms of heart disease and a stunning 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Another randomized trial found a 16% reduction in the number of strokes for those using olive oil in the Mediterranean Diet with olive oil vs the Mediterranean Diet control group.*  So it appears that olive oil could prevent heart attacks and strokes.*

Several studies before 2020 have demonstrated quite clearly the connection between olive oil consumption and better cardiovascular health. This was most notable in countries along the Mediterranean coastal area, where olive oil complex consumption is much higher. When compared to the United States where the average oil consumption is 1 liter per person per year compared with 15 – 25 liters per person per year in the Mediterranean region. 

What Do We Know About the Health Benefits of Olive Oil

How Does it Help the Heart Disease?

Research suggests there are two mechanisms involved: First, studies have found that higher levels of olive fruit polyphenols (hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol and derivatives) can reduce the stiffness of our arterial walls, and decrease the cellular adhesion of lipids and cholesterol to these arterial walls.  Basically, it makes the arteries more flexible and reduces the “stickiness” of the inside walls of the arteries – allowing the lipids to keep passing through instead of building up inside them.  It’s kind of like the “RainX” of our arteries!.*

Secondly, the natural hydroxytyrosol in olive polyphenols, actually helps increase HDLs (high density lipids) which are good for you because these lipids will carry oxidized LDLs (low density lipids) back to the liver, causing an overall reduction in total cholesterol in the process.*  Finally, the oleacein in the olive polyphenols possess the ability to reduce the destabilization of carotid plaque and therefore could potentially reduce the risk of ischemic stroke risk.

So the olive oils you are looking for should be very high in polyphenols and natural hydroxytyrosol such as our polyphenol-enriched extra virgin olive oil CardiOlive® 25x.   

How Much Olive Oil do I Need?

As heart disease continues to increase in the world, the number-one killer of both men and women in developed countries continues to be cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. But extra virgin olive oil can help.  The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has determined that a minimum 5 mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives in olive oil should be consumed daily by individuals – or to be used by olive oil producers to use a cardiovascular health claim.  So 5mg would normally require at least 3-5 tablespoons of high polyphenol olive oil – or one tablespoon of CardiOlive® 25x with 6mg of hydroxytyrosol in every tablespoon.

Are There Olive Oil Supplements I Can Take?

Olive oil supplements might also be the best answer for you – so you keep up your intake of olive polyphenols without depending on cooking to do it.  They are easy, convenient and great for you.  Taking OliPura® products – either Heart, Joint or Advanced will give you the equivalent of 50-100 liters of olive oil each year which places you well ahead of the average Mediterranean resident!

If you are interested in incorporating olive oil into your diet, reach out to us at Oliventures. We offer olive oil supplements with polyphenols to help you lead a healthy and balanced life.

References

“Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts”  https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1800389?articleTools=true

“Hydroxytyrosol and Cytoprotection: A Projection for Clinical Interventions; International Journal of Molecular Science, 2017 Apr 28;18(5):930; see the abstract at :  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28452954/

“The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors“;  Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007 Mar 6;146(5):394; see the abstract at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17339627/

* Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.