Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is very well managed nowadays compared to the past.
Thanks to the ease of access to different medications, blood pressure can be controlled, and in this way, patients with hypertension can have an improved quality of life.
However, high blood pressure remains a major risk for medical emergencies like heart attack and stroke.
For this reason, working on lowering the risk of hypertension is the right approach for pre and hypertensive patients.
In addition to the medication, lifestyle changes like frequent movement and better dietary habits are important, like the Mediterranean diet, which includes olive oil.
This issue is addressed in a literature review published recently in the journal Nutrients, where the researchers thoroughly examined the effects of olive oil on blood pressure.
Some preventative lifestyle changes that are known as effective are reducing salt intake, increasing potassium intake, limiting alcohol, losing excess weight, and adopting healthier dietary patterns, like the Mediterranean diet.
Following this, one of the key components of the Mediterranean diet is olive oil, because of its high content of antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids.
The most abundant component of olive oil is oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid, and the remaining components are phytochemicals, like polyphenols, carotenoids, and others.
These elements give olive oil its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity.
According to this review, epidemiological studies, animal studies, and human studies have all pointed towards the fact that olive oil has an anti-hypertensive effect on blood pressure.
It’s believed that the unique combination of oleic acid together with the different types of phytochemicals makes olive oil very effective in regulating blood pressure.
But, consistency is very important.
The review stresses two important things in regard to the evidence that olive oil can lower blood pressure:
- Epidemiological studies showed that the results depended heavily on the region where the studies were performed. For example, the surveys performed in the USA and other countries in which the Western diet was predominant, didn’t confirm that there were any protective effects of olive oil. However, in studies performed in Mediterranean countries where the Mediterranean diet is dominant, the protective effects were clearly present.
- As adjuvant evidence, in clinical studies, it was observed that long-term intake of extra virgin olive oil, especially between 10 to 60mL daily, resulted in a consistently reduced systolic blood pressure, and a somewhat lowered diastolic blood pressure. The total reduction isn’t very big, but eventually, it accumulates to an increased percentage of patients who either don’t develop hypertension or suffer fewer consequences from it. In short, these changes indicate beneficial effects in the long-run.
The Bottom Line
Lowering blood pressure is another attribute of the many that can be attached to olive oil. No wonder it has persisted through the years as one of the healthiest elements of balanced nutrition.
Therefore, including olive oil in your everyday diet will be beneficial for many things, including your cardiovascular health.
Resource: Massaro, M.; Scoditti, E.; Carluccio, M.A.; Calabriso, N.; Santarpino, G.; Verri, T.; De Caterina, R. Effects of Olive Oil on Blood Pressure: Epidemiological, Clinical, and Mechanistic Evidence. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1548. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061548