Does olive oil cause heart disease ?

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There is a lot of misinformation being promoted regarding Olive Oil recently, with most of the incorrect claims originating from the low-fat vegan diet movement.

Some of these claims include the incorrect beliefs that olive oil causes heart disease and is a pro-inflammatory food, which couldn’t be further from the real truth.

Much of the fear surrounding olive oil stems from its rich content of fats.  However, the majority of the fats that olive oil contains are heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.

A growing body of research is finding that diet patterns which are low in saturated fats, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids(Omega-3(EPA/DHA/ALA)) such as the Mediterranean diet plan, help to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

In this blog post, we are going to debunk some of the fear mongering and incorrect claims surrounding olive oil using scientific research.

Myth #1: Olive oil causes heart disease

The first myth I am going to tackle is the incorrect claim that olive oil either causes or increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

According to a growing body of scientific research, the opposite is actually true here, in that a diet rich in olive oil actually significantly decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Olive oil is one of the key components of the Mediterranean diet and where the cardiovascular health support benefits are partially derived from.

Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study.

“Higher baseline total olive oil consumption was associated with 48% (HR:0.52; 95% CI: 0.29 to 0.93) reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality. For each 10 g/d increase in extra-virgin olive oil consumption, cardiovascular disease and mortality risk decreased by 10% and 7%, respectively.

Olive oil consumption, specifically the extra-virgin variety, is associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and mortality in individuals at high cardiovascular risk.

In summary, the study found that greater consumption of total olive oil, especially EVOO, was associated with reduced cardiovascular disease and mortality risk in an elderly Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk. [1]

Myth #2: Olive oil is pro-inflammatory and causes inflammation

The next myth to debunk is the claim that Olive oil is pro-inflammatory and causes inflammation in the body.

Contrary to the popular belief of the low-fat vegan diet proponents, research has actually found that Olive oil is a strong anti-inflammatory food, due to the rich content of polyphenols.

Virgin olive oil contains numerous phenolic compounds that exert potent anti-inflammatory actions.

Oleocanthal is contained in virgin olive oil and possesses similar anti-inflammatory properties to ibuprofen. [2]

References

[1] Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study

https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-12-78

[2] Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21443487

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

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