Olive oil in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease

Maturitas. 2011 Mar;68(3):245-50. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2010.12.002. Epub 2011 Jan 8.


Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Many mechanistic reasons support that a high consumption of olive oil may provide a protection against myocardial infarction, the hallmark of ischemic heart disease. International comparisons are also consistent with this hypothesis. Surprisingly, there is not much evidence coming from analytical epidemiological studies about this issue. A case-control study conducted at the University of Navarra (Spain) found a strong inverse association between olive oil consumption and the risk of a first non-fatal myocardial infarction. Subsequently a large cohort in Italy and another case-control study conducted in Greece also found inverse associations. However, no complete consistency exists and further prospective studies and trials are being implemented in order to obtain more complete evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control*
  • Olea / chemistry*
  • Olive Oil
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils