Cardiovascular diseases are one of the main causes of death worldwide. With a healthy lifestyle, these can be largely prevented.
Olive oil can protect our heart against cardiovascular diseases. Let's see why.
Healthy properties of olive oil
Considering virgin olive oil as the oils made by mechanical procedures, such as extra virgin and virgin, we can say that virgin olive oil is an ingredient with a high content of antioxidant substances and vitamins, as well as carotenoids and polyphenols. The latter are known to be antioxidant compounds that help prevent the onset of chronic diseases, such as certain cardiovascular diseases.
Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic power, which exert a cardioprotective effect against arteriosclerosis (a process of narrowing and hardening of the arteries due to the natural loss of elasticity associated with aging). Atherosclerosis is responsible for a large number of cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction or arterial hypertension, among others.
The oleic acid in virgin olive oil is responsible for reducing LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) in the blood, while increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). In addition, the fatty acids in virgin olive oil lower triglycerides, which reduces the hardening of the arteries.
Virgin olive oil is rich in Omega3 fatty acids. These have been shown to have heart-healthy properties, being considered in the prevention of arrhythmias, lowering triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of thrombosis, etc.
Thus, according to the Spanish Heart Foundation (FCE), it recognizes that the daily intake of virgin olive oil helps us protect cardiovascular health thanks to its composition of fatty acids and its antioxidant components.
Benefits of olive oil for cardiovascular diseases
A great number of scientific studies have confirmed the important role that virgin olive oil plays in maintaining good cardiovascular health, with other factors such as a healthy diet and daily physical exercise, among others, coming into play.
Therefore, the benefits of olive oil for cardiovascular diseases are:
- Virgin olive oil modulates lipid values. This means that it reduces LDL cholesterol levels, increasing HDL cholesterol levels, essential for the proper functioning of our body.
- Thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of virgin olive oil, it generates a less prothrombotic environment and increase endothelium-dependent vasodilation. The endothelium is the last layer that covers the veins and arteries in our body. Over the years, the walls of the endothelium lose flexibility. Virgin olive oil favors vasodilation and the function of the endothelium.
- Virgin olive oil inhibits the formation of platelet aggregations that can lead to thrombosis, which can cause stroke or heart attacks.
- It is a powerful ally against dyslipidemia. Virgin olive oil has protective effects against dyslipidemia (high concentrations of lipids in the blood) and atherosclerosis. It also reduces the risk of heart attack and hypertension and can slow down premature aging. In addition, it has antidiabetic and antitumor properties.
- Olive oil is hypocholesterolemic, that is, it reduces the intestinal absorption of cholesterol contained in food and due to its high content of polyphenols, it is capable of 'cleaning' the blood and blood vessels.