Olive Oil Consumption and Cardiovascular Protection: Mechanism of Action

Cardiol Rev. 2022 Mar 15. doi: 10.1097/CRD.0000000000000449. Online ahead of print.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are still the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, and they could be prevented by a diet modification and a healthy lifestyle. Dietary modifications include a reduction in the consumption of saturated fatty acids and replacing them with mono or polyunsaturated fatty acids. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid and its increased consumption has been associated with a significant reduction of CVDs. Its significant cardiovascular benefits have been attributed to its high content of vitamin E, polyphenols and other ingredients that possess significant antiinflammatory and atioxidant properties. Several prospective and epidemiological studies have reported an inverse association between olive oil consumption and the incidence of CVD, hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Also, a seminal study demonstrated that the use of a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and fish, and low in red meat, was associated with significant reductions in CVD and mortality. However, despite its proven cardiovascular benefits, olive oil is scarcely used in the United States and other Western countries. In order to determine the current use of olive oil in the United States and other Western countries, a Medline search of the English literature between 2012 and January 2022 was conducted, and 36 pertinent papers were selected. The data from these papers, together with collateral literature, will be discussed in this concise review.