Medical Research: Olive Oil in Diet for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

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MedicalResearch.com Interview with Prof Jordi Salas-Salvadó

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: The main findings of our study are that olive oil consumption, especially the extra-virgin variety (which is the olive oil with the best quality because it has higher amounts of bioactive compounds than other varieties), is associated with a reduced risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease (stroke, myocardial infarction…) and also cardiovascular death in an elderly Mediterranean population from Spain who were at high cardiovascular risk (because they had several cardiovscular risk factors such as smoking, being overweight or obese, having a family history of cardiovascular disease…).

We have conducted an observational study including more than 7000 individuals who had participated in a randomized clinical trial to evaluate effects of a Mediterranean Diet in on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: As hypothesized, our study underscore the healthy benefits of olive oil in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular death. The protection was stronger for the extra-virgin olive oil variety.

We found that per each 10 g/d (about 1 table spoon) intake of extra-virgin olive oil there was a 10% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease and 7% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular death.

This could be explained because virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat that is more difficult to be oxidized, but also because virgin olive oil is very rich in phytosterols, polyphenols, and other antiinflammatory molecules that can protect from cardiovascular disease.

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