Olive oil is dubbed the healthiest oil on the planet. Doctors recommend it to their patients, nutritionists to clients, health experts to everyone. Benefits of olive oil are numerous, but you’ve probably come across claims it has the potential to improve heart health. Is olive oil really good for the heart and how does it helps us? Scroll down to find out.
Is olive oil really good for the heart?
How many times have you heard some health-related claims and thought they might be exaggerated? We’ve become suspicious of everything and anything due to a massive quantity of unreliable articles online. However, olive oil really is good for your cardiovascular health. Better yet, science has confirmed the amazing benefits of this wonderful oil.
For instance, journal BMC Medicine published a study which found that consumption of olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in persons who were at a higher risk of developing some heart disease. In other words, regular intake of olive oil can protect you from developing heart disease and complications that would come with it. The same way olive oil reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular conditions it can also aid management of heart-related problems in persons who already developed him. How? Let’s see.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, bacteria, viruses, and its purpose is to promote the healing process and strengthen the defenses of the immune system. That being said, chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on your health and lead to autoimmune conditions, but it also plays a role in other health problems. Although it’s not quite clear whether inflammation can cause heart disease it is present in patients who have it and plays a role in heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, olive oil can reduce inflammation and thereby protect you from problems associated with it. In this case, lowered inflammation can make it easier to manage heart disease, reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems, and promote overall heart health.
Decreased LDL cholesterol
Not all cholesterol in our body is equal. We can divide it on LDL or bad cholesterol and HDL or good cholesterol. What makes LDL so harmful is that it tends to build up in our blood vessels and pave the way to atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular problems. A growing body of evidence confirms that olive oil decreases LDL and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis. At the same time, levels of HDL cholesterol improve. In other words, regular intake of olive oil allows you to keep cholesterol levels within a healthy range. Olive oil improves the lining of the blood vessels and may prevent excessive blood clotting.
Blood pressure management
According to the American Heart Association, over 103 million people in the US have hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension is a serious problem mostly because it doesn’t have some major symptoms and people may not even though they have it until they get their blood pressure checked. In the meantime, high blood pressure contributes to cardiovascular diseases and events. That’s why it’s of huge importance to keep both systolic and diastolic blood pressure within a healthy range. Olive oil can help you with that. Studies show that regular consumption of olive oil can improve blood pressure values. What’s more, a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that olive oil reduced the need for blood pressure medications by 48%.
Reduced body fat
Millions of people are overweight or obese. Excess weight increases the risk of early death, various cancers, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, among other health problems. Therefore, weight loss is crucial for a healthy heart. When you slim down or keep weight in a healthy range, you’re protecting the heart from diseases, but if you already have some cardiovascular condition, it may be easier to manage it. Studies reveal that the intake of olive oil can contribute to the reduction of body fat which is crucial for the aging process. That way, olive oil indirectly influences heart health.
Scientists are still trying to uncover all the mechanisms of action with which olive oil benefits heart health. The journal Nature Communications published a study which identified a protein called apolipoprotein A-IV (ApoA-IV) which increases after we eat foods such as olive oil. This particular protein lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases when present in high amounts. Additionally, ApoA-IV can tackle inflammation and slow down inflammatory conditions such as those that clog arteries. Therefore, eating enough olive oil can boost levels of this protein and protect you from heart-related problems.
Tips to improve heart health
Besides olive oil intake, you need to make some lifestyle modifications in order to improve heart health. For example:
- Lose weight
- Exercise regularly
- Drink enough water
- Stop drinking alcohol and quit smoking
- Manage stress
- Get enough sleep
- Look after your mental health
- Keep track of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels
Olive oil needs to be an irreplaceable part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Justifying its role of the healthiest oil in the world, olive oil improves heart health through multiple mechanisms. Regular intake of olive oil reduces LDL cholesterol, alleviates inflammation, improves blood pressure, aids weight management, and elevates levels of protein which lowers heart disease risk. Make sure your diet includes olive oil for a strong heart and a healthy life.