Virgin Olive Oil contains modest amounts of Vitamins E
and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids.
This is the nutrient content of 100 grams of olive oil:
• Saturated Fat: 13.8%.
• Monounsaturated Fat: 73% (most of it the 18 carbon
long oleic acid).
• Omega-6: 9.7%.
• Omega-3: 0.76%.
• Vitamin E: 72% of the RDA.*
• Vitamin K: 75% of the RDA.
RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowances
is believed that chronic inflammation is among the leading
drivers of many diseases. This includes heart disease, cancer,
metabolic syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and arthritis.
It has been speculated that one of the mechanisms behind
olive oil’s benefits, is its ability to fight inflammation.
diseases (heart disease and stroke) are the most common
causes of death in the world.
Many observational studies show that death from these
diseases is low in certain areas of the world, especially
the countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
observation originally spurred interest in the Mediterranean
Diet, which is supposed to mimic the way the people in
those countries eat.
where extra virgin olive oil really shines is in its content
of antioxidants. These substances are biologically active
and some of them can help fight serious diseases.
Some of the main antioxidants are the anti-inflammatory
oleocanthal, as well as oleuropein, a substance that protects
LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
Some people have criticized olive oil for having a high
Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio (over 10:1), but keep in mind
that the total amount of polyunsaturated fats is still
relatively low, so this shouldn’t be a cause for
Olive oil is very high in monounsaturated fats and contains
a modest amount of vitamins E and K.
virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, some of
which have powerful health benefits.
is some evidence that oleic acid itself, the most prominent
fatty acid in olive oil, can reduce inflammatory markers
like C-Reactive Protein.
But the main anti-inflammatory effects seem to be mediated
by the antioxidants in olive oil, primarily oleocanthal,
which has been shown to work like ibuprofen, a popular anti-inflammatory
Researchers estimate that the amount of oleocanthal in 50
ml (about 3.4 tablespoons) of extra virgin olive oil has
an effect similar to 10% of the adult ibuprofen dosage for
There is also a study showing that substances in olive oil
can reduce expression of genes and proteins that mediate
Keep in mind that chronic, low-level inflammation is usually
fairly mild and it takes years or decades for it to do damage.
Eating plenty of extra virgin olive oil may help prevent
this from happening, leading to a reduced risk of various
inflammatory diseases… especially heart disease.
Studies on the Mediterranean Diet show that it can help
prevent heart disease. In one major study, it reduced heart
attacks, strokes and death by 30%.
Extra virgin olive oil protects against heart disease via
• Reduced Inflammation: As memtioned,
olive oil protects against inflammation, a key driver of
• LDL Cholesterol: Olive oil protects
LDL particles from oxidative damage – a key step in
the heart disease process.
• Improves Endothelial Function:
Olive oil improves the function of the endothelium, which
is the lining of the blood vessels.
• Blood Clotting: Some studies suggest
that olive oil can help prevent unwanted blood clotting,
key features of heart attacks and strokes.
• Lower Blood Pressure: One study
in patients with elevated blood pressure found that olive
oil reduced blood pressure significantly and cut the need
for blood pressure meds by 48%.