Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Heart

September 28, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team

Updated Version - July 22, 2023

Extra virgin olive oil is a healthy fat that contains anti-inflammatory compounds. Drinking it regularly may benefit your heart, bone, and digestive health and help stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Researchers have found that those who ate more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day had a 15% lower risk of having any kind of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Consuming more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, cancer mortality, neurodegenerative disease mortality, and respiratory disease mortality.

Nutrients in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is rich in heart-healthy fats, along with vitamins E and K. A tablespoon (about 14 grams) of olive oil contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories - 119
  • Saturated fat - 14% of total calories
  • Monounsaturated fat - 73% of total calories (mostly oleic acid)
  • Polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) - 11% of total calories
  • Vitamin E - 13% of Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin K - 7% of Daily Value DV

Extra virgin olive oil is a great source of antioxidants. The main antioxidants include the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal, as well as oleuropein, a substance that protects LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation.

How Extra Virgin Olive Oil Protects Against Heart Disease?

  • Reduces Inflammation

    Olive oil can decrease inflammation, a key driver of heart disease.

  • Reduces Oxidation of LDL (bad) Cholesterol

    Olive oil may prevent LDL particles from oxidative damage, an important factor in the development of heart disease.

  • Improves Blood Vessel Health

    Olive oil may improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels.

  • Helps Manage Blood Clotting

    Some studies suggest that olive oil can help prevent unwanted blood clotting, which could contribute to heart attack and stroke.

  • Lowers Blood Pressure

    Research suggests that increased intake of olive oil could be tied to lower blood pressure, which may aid in the prevention of heart disease.


Not only is extra virgin olive oil loaded with heart-healthy fats, but it's also a great source of antioxidant compounds, like vitamin E, oleoresin, and oleocanthal. It has been associated with a wide range of powerful health benefits and may help prevent heart disease, promote brain function, and protect against certain types of cancer.

Helpful Information

What are the health benefits of olive oil?

Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is loaded with antioxidants and healthy fats. It can reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease, and lower blood pressure. Some studies also suggest it may help prevent strokes and Alzheimer's disease.

Is extra virgin olive oil good for weight loss?

Extra virgin olive oil can contribute to weight loss as part of a balanced diet. It is high in monounsaturated fats that can help control hunger and make you feel full. It also helps to boost metabolism, which can contribute to weight loss.

Does olive oil benefit skin health?

Yes, olive oil is beneficial for skin health. It contains antioxidants like vitamin E that can protect the skin from premature aging. Olive oil can moisturize skin, improve skin elasticity, and help in the treatment of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

What are the benefits of olive oil for hair?

Olive oil can strengthen hair, reduce frizz, and promote shine. Its moisturizing properties can help reduce scalp dryness and dandruff. Regular use can also potentially prevent hair loss by strengthening hair follicles.

Can olive oil improve digestion?

Olive oil aids digestion by lubricating the digestive tract, helping food move smoothly through the colon. It also has a protective effect on the stomach and can help prevent issues like gastritis and ulcers.

What role does olive oil play in a heart-healthy diet?

Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, is a key component of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. It can help lower bad LDL cholesterol, increase good HDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

How does olive oil contribute to bone health?

Some studies suggest that olive oil can improve bone health by increasing the deposition of calcium and improving bone formation. The antioxidants in olive oil can also help reduce bone loss with aging.

Does cooking with olive oil reduce its health benefits?

While all oils can degrade with heat, extra virgin olive oil is fairly stable to cook with due to its high antioxidant and monounsaturated fat content. Although, to retain maximum health benefits, it is best used at low to medium heat.

Can olive oil help in diabetes management?

Olive oil, with its high content of monounsaturated fats, can improve insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for people with diabetes or at risk for the disease.

Is olive oil good for brain health?

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants known to protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, which can contribute to aging and disease. Regular consumption may help improve memory and cognitive function, and potentially delay the onset of Alzheimer's.

What are the benefits of olive oil in a Mediterranean diet?

A cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil contributes to its many health benefits. These include improved heart health, reduced cancer risk, better cognitive health, and weight management.

How does olive oil impact liver health?

Olive oil may benefit liver health by reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance, factors often linked to liver disease. It can also promote liver fat metabolism, helping to prevent fatty liver disease.

Can olive oil reduce the risk of stroke?

Studies have shown that regular consumption of olive oil can reduce the risk of stroke. Its high content of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants helps to protect the cardiovascular system.

Does olive oil benefit eye health?

Olive oil contains Vitamin E and other antioxidants that can protect the eyes from inflammation and oxidative damage. This may help prevent conditions like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Is olive oil good for joint health?

Olive oil contains a compound called oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen. Regular consumption may help reduce inflammation in joints and could benefit individuals with arthritis.

Can olive oil help prevent cancer?

While more research is needed, some studies suggest that the antioxidants in olive oil can help protect against cancer, particularly breast cancer and colorectal cancer. The oil's anti-inflammatory properties may also play a role.

Is olive oil beneficial for gut health?

Olive oil promotes gut health by aiding digestion and supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also help protect the digestive tract.

How does olive oil help lower cholesterol?

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which can help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels without affecting good HDL cholesterol. This can lead to improved heart health.

Can the use of olive oil improve mood and reduce stress?

While not a replacement for professional treatment, some studies suggest that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil may have a positive impact on mood and stress. However, more research is needed.

What are the benefits of consuming raw olive oil?

Consuming raw olive oil ensures that you get the maximum level of nutrients, antioxidants, and monounsaturated fats. This can help reduce inflammation, protect heart health, and provide skin and hair benefits.


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