Olive Oil Keeps Blood Vessels Healthy
Looking for an additive effect
The study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, included 82 people with early signs of blood vessel dysfunction. This type of dysfunction has to do with the ability of the blood vessel lining to expand and contract appropriately and is believed to be an early sign of atherosclerosis.
The participants were assigned to take either 30 ml (1 ounce) of olive oil alone or the same amount of EGCG-enriched olive oil every day for four months. The olive oil given to both groups was high in polyphenols even without EGCG, and therefore was presumably extra-virgin rather than refined olive oil.
People with the greatest blood vessel dysfunction improved the most. Otherwise, at the end of the study, the researchers found the same results in both groups: blood vessel function improved, levels of the blood cells involved in inflammation decreased, and there was no weight gain.
Olive oil stands alone
“Olive oil supplementation may be beneficial for most individuals and might theoretically reduce cardiovascular events,” the study’s authors said. However, since this was an uncontrolled study, the results do not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between olive oil and improved heart health. Olive oil’s heart-healthy effects have been shown in previous studies as well. By itself and as a part of a Mediterranean-style diet, olive oil appears to be a potent protector against heart disease.
Protect your blood vessels with olive oil
The amount of olive oil used in this study is a reasonable addition to a healthy diet. Here are some ways to get your 30 ml or 2 tablespoons of olive oil each day:
- Better than butter. With some minced garlic and a pinch of salt, olive oil is a great bread dip.
- A pesto rainbow. Olive oil is a good base for your herbs, whether you have basil or cilantro or another aromatic green. Blend with lemon, garlic, and toasted sunflower seeds to make a spread for crackers or a topping for pasta.
- Heart-healthy hummus. Make chickpeas into a dip with lots of olive oil. Add garlic, lemon, and sesame tahini to make a delicious and nutritious hummus to have with carrots or crackers.
(Eur J Nutr 2012;DOI 10.1007/s00394-012-0433-2)