Can Olive Oil Protect Against Heart Attacks?

Adding virgin olive oil to the diet helps to maintain health. It has many benefits. Among others, it can protect us from cardiovascular problems and heart attacks.
Can Olive Oil Protect Against Heart Attacks?
Florencia Villafañe

Written and verified by the nutritionist Florencia Villafañe.

Last update: 05 October, 2022

We have known about many properties regarding olive oil for many decades, especially in chronic diseases. But can olive oil protect us against heart attacks? That’s the question we’ll be asking today – stay with us and find out!

Olive oil is becoming more and more important and more and more people are adding it to their daily diet. But what are the components that make it so healthy and how does it help us in the prevention of diseases or heart attacks? Let’s take a look.

What is a heart attack and how does it happen?

It is well known that heart attacks cause many deaths around the world. They occur when there’s an obstruction or blockage in a blood vessel that prevents the irrigation of an organ. This can have serious consequences.

What are the most common causes of a heart attack?

We must be clear that, among the most common causes that can lead to a heart attack, there are some factors that we can modify or control. These are mainly related to lifestyle. Some of them are the following:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Arterial hypertension
  • Alteration of blood lipids

Many of these aspects, as we can see, are associated with an inadequate diet or with low-quality foods. Luckily, there are many other foods with great benefits for our health, as is the case with olive oil.

Olive oil, why do we call it liquid gold?

Olive oil is a product with many antioxidant substances and vitamins, mainly vitamins E and C. It’s also rich in other natural compounds such as carotenes and polyphenols. These are antioxidant compounds that help prevent the onset of many diseases.

Some olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best sources of omega 9

Polyphenols: health protection

As we know, some substances have anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties, as is the case of polyphenols. When consumed in adequate amounts, polyphenols help prevent heart disease. Some of these diseases are, for example, arterial hypertension and myocardial infarction.

Olive oil fats

This oil is also rich in oleic acid (omega 9). It’s a type of monounsaturated fat that reduces LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and, in turn, increases HDL cholesterol. This is yet another benefit that turns this food into liquid gold.

In addition, this fatty acid is very abundant in the brain and neurons need it to communicate with each other. The Spanish Heart Foundation recognizes that the daily intake of olive oil helps us to protect cardiovascular health thanks to its antioxidant components and its type of fat.

Protective effect of olive oil in a heart attack

As we have already mentioned, antioxidants, vitamins E and C, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds have a protective effect because they have the ability to clean excess fats from the blood.

Thus, they prevent the formation of atheroma plaques. If this happens, the arteries become blocked and the heart will need to pump much harder to get the blood through this narrow space. When there’s a blockage, a heart attack could be imminent. And this is why olive oil can protect us from a heart attack.

A woman with a heart attack.

How does it protect against other problems?

As we have said, olive oil has many health benefits for the heart and circulatory system, but these aren’t the only ones.

It also has an important protective function in the brain. Omega 9 fatty acid is very abundant in the brain and the neurons need it to communicate with each other.

Does any other oil have these properties?

This is a common question, but the answer is no. We should pay attention to this because there are many types of oil on the market. However, the extra virgin type olive oil is the one that has the best properties; also the virgin type.

These types contain all their components in large quantities. However, this doesn’t happen in olive oil that is mixed with another product or in refined olive oil.

In addition, something key is that professionals always recommend consuming it raw and not subjecting it to cooking. This is to avoid damaging its components.

Olive oil in heart attack prevention, a summary

Adding virgin olive oil to your diet helps to maintain health, as it has many benefits. Among others, it protects us from cardiovascular problems and heart attacks.

However, it isn’t enough just to consume olive oil. To achieve these effects, it must be accompanied by a balanced diet. Likewise, physical exercise is essential to help us take care of our health.

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