The Mediterranean diet is about more than food. It’s a way to embrace life to the fullest, to find peace and happiness in everyday events, and to stay active and engaged in meaningful ways. In fact, the benefits that accrue to those who follow the key principles of the diet itself aren’t solely related to single foods but to the diet as a whole, which includes not only what you eat but how you live.

Several studies are mentioning that those who followed a Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra virgin olive oil, were 35 percent more likely than those on the low-fat, control diet to reverse the condition.


Fairly Nutritious


Cardiovascular diseases

Extra 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

It 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.

Cardiovascular 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.

This observation originally spurred interest in the Mediterranean Diet, which is supposed to mimic the way the people in those countries eat.

But 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 concern.

Olive oil is very high in monounsaturated fats and contains a modest amount of vitamins E and K.

Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, some of which have powerful health benefits.

There 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 drug.

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 pain relief.

There is also a study showing that substances in olive oil can reduce expression of genes and proteins that mediate inflammation.

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 numerous mechanisms:

Reduced Inflammation: As memtioned, olive oil protects against inflammation, a key driver of heart disease.
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%.