Olive oil has long been considered beneficial for heart health. Researchers ever surveyed nearly 41,000 Spanish adult men and women who were between 29 and 69 and found that people who consumed the least amount of a fat from the olive are at the highest risk of dying from heart disease. And typically consuming merely 2 tablespoons of it a day can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by 50 per cent and 1 tablespoon by about 28 per cent.
At this you may wonder that how a fat obtained from the olive can be good for heart since it is one hundred percent of the fat. Just like other vegetable oils, theoretically it should be the largest contributor to heart disease. Actually, this is a fact verified by strong epidemiological evidence.
The secret is that the fat from the olive is monounsaturated fat. This is quite different from meat, dairy products, and butter since they are saturated fat. Besides of monounsaturated fat, it is rich in plant polyphenols too. Both of these two chemical compounds can reduce blood clots by inhibiting the inflammation in the human body. A good example is that Greek and Italian people consume more fat, mostly in the form of olive oil, than Americans do, but the former has a much lower incidence of heart disease.
Virgin olive oil is particular rich in nutrients that can help prevent the accumulation of obstructive arterial plaque and reduce the risk of heart attack. It also increases levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers levels of LDL (bad cholesterol). In addition, it prevents heart disease that is caused by blood clots, which tend to form a special blood cell called platelets. As you may know, platelets are easy to stick to the walls of coronary arteries. In one trial researchers found that the platelet clotting wouldn’t occur easily in volunteers after they had consumed three-quarters tablespoons of it, twice a day, for only straight eight weeks.
Many studies also show that a fat obtained from the olive can lower blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor that is likely to cause heart attack and stroke. Unfortunately, so far it remains unknown that what ingredients in the Mediterranean diet no earth lower blood pressure. However, there is evidence that adding it in the diet does have a role in lowering blood pressure when your diet remains unchanged. That’s to say, regular consumption of it can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In addition, recent evidence shows that the consumption of it can reduce the daily dose of antihypertensive drugs that is required by those with hypertension. This may be the result of nitrate reduction caused by polyphenols.
As an important part of the Mediterranean diet it plays an important role in helping people from the Mediterranean region prevent heart disease. So, Americans should eat like a Mediterranean people does if they want to enjoy the same health benefits. In other words, Americans should replace too much meat with low-fat diet and olive oil in their diet habit. By the way, although this oil has much medicinal value, it does not reduce the risk of developing and dying from cancer.