heart healthy foods

Olive Oil and Heart Health

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On March 23, 2019
Is Olive Oil Healthy?

Does extra virgin olive oil have the same adverse effect on the arterial function as refined oils and animal fats? We need to put aside our prejudices and feelings and look at the scientific facts. You know those neutral research projects not funded by special interest groups. What does the data show concerning this? Watch today’s video and find out.

Yes, foods rich in monounsaturated fats like olive oil may be better than foods full of saturated and trans fats, but just because something is “better” does not mean it is good for you.

“Better” cigarettes (those with less nicotine and toxic chemicals like benzo(a)pyrenes) still promote lung cancer. “Better” monounsaturated fats like olive oil may still lead to diseased arteries. When scientists fed a monounsaturated fat-rich diet to monkeys for five years, the monkeys developed extensive atherosclerotic plaques in their coronary arteries.

Is olive oil better than butter?

Yes, foods rich in monounsaturated fats like olive oil may be better than foods full of saturated and trans fats, but just because something is “better” does not mean it is good for you.

Is Olive Oil Heart-Healthy?

Several human studies have also poked holes in olive oil’s heart–health claims. When researchers from the University of Crete recently compared residents of Crete who had heart disease with residents free of the disease, they found that the residents with heart disease ate a diet with “significantly higher daily intakes” of monounsaturated fats (principally from olive oil) as well as higher fat intake overall.

Marginal Benefits of Olive Oil vs. Saturated Fats

And data from the Nurses Health Study, an ongoing study from Harvard Medical School analyzing the habits and health of nearly 90,000 female nurses, found that those who consumed olive oil were only marginally healthier than those eating a typical high-in-saturated–fat American diet.

Notes Dr. Kenney, “There is also reason to believe that whatever modest health benefits are associated with consuming olive oil are largely due to the beneficial plant chemicals, such as polyphenols and plant sterols, found in the extra virgin olive oils, but these plant chemicals are largely lost in the more processed ‘light’ olive oils. These phytochemicals may provide some protection from the harmful effects caused by consuming a high-fat meal.”

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