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Virgin Olive Oil Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Health In Focus   - G J E 4
  • Virgin olive oil is nutritious and high in antioxidant content
  • Virgin olive oil helps reduce blood pressure and cuts the need for blood pressure medications
  • Oleic acid in virgin olive oil acts a natural anti-hypertensive molecule
Virgin olive oil helps in preventing and treating hypertension. People with high blood pressure can substitute virgin olive oil for other types of fat in their diet.
Virgin Olive Oil Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Virgin Olive Oil Helps Lower Blood Pressure
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Hypertension (high blood pressure) is defined as having blood pressure higher than 140 (systolic blood pressure) over 90 (diastolic blood pressure) mmHg. Hypertension increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. About 970 million people worldwide have high blood pressure. 1.56 billion adults will develop hypertension by 2025. Hypertension is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in India; 12 - 17% in rural areas; 20-40% in urban areas.

‘Regular use of virgin olive oil in the diet helps decrease systolic (maximum) and diastolic (minimum) blood pressure.’
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Numerous studies have reported a close link between diet and blood pressure. Certain foods were found to have a protective effect in controlling hypertension. A recent study conducted by Dr. Sergio Lopez et al has found an association between virgin olive oil in the treatment of hypertension. The study is published in Current Vascular Pharmacology Journal.

There are many varieties of olives grown throughout the world. Olive oil is graded based
  • On the extraction process
  • Level of acidity of the pressed oil
  • Free oleic acid content
Most common types of olive oil include:
  • Olive Oil - classic olive oil; has mild flavor with a hint of fruitiness
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EOOV) - most flavorful and healthiest oil
  • Virgin Olive Oil - has higher level of oleic acid and slightly less intense flavor than EOOV
  • Light-tasting Olive Oil - almost flavorless
Virgin olive oil is an unrefined oil (pure and untreated). The oil is produced from the first cold pressing of the olives and pits (hard inner or woody layer of the pericarp). Cold pressing means chemicals or heat are not used to extract the oil from the fruit. Virgin olive oil maintains the purity and taste of the olive. Virgin olive oil composition includes large quantities of oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid) and also a variety of compounds present in lower quantities, named minor constituents, such as hydrocarbons, phytosterols, triterpenic compounds, and phenolic compounds. Both oleic acid and these minor constituents confer unique bioactive properties to virgin olive oil. Olive oil is a part of the Mediterranean diet that reduces the risk of heart disease.

How do the Antioxidants in Virgin Olive Oil Protect from Hypertension?

Polyphenols in olive oil are potent antioxidants that prevents LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or bad) from oxidation (damage by free radicals). Oxidation of LDL cholesterol contributes to the development of atherosclerosis (plaque builds up inside your arteries). Thus olive oil prevents hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

Other Health Benefits of Virgin Olive Oil
  • Protects against inflammation - key driver of cardiovascular disease
  • Prevents LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage
  • Improves the function of endothelium (lining of the blood vessels)
  • Helps prevent unwanted blood clotting
Other Foods that Lower Blood Pressure
  • Garlic
  • Blueberries
  • Beetroot
  • Yogurt
  • Chocolates
  • Whole-grain cereals
Including 2 tablespoons of olive oil each day is a healthy way to meet the need. Olive oil can be included in the diet by replacing other saturated fats such as butter. While making cakes and pies, olive oil can be used as a substitute for butter. It can also be used as a salad dressing. One disadvantage of olive oil is that it contains less omega-3 fatty acids compared to other vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed, walnut and soybean oils.

References:
  1. 7 Fabulous Foods that Naturally Lower Blood Pressure - (http://www.aarp.org/health/medical-research/info-04-2011/6-foods-fight-high-blood-pressure.html#slide3)
  2. Virgin olive oil and hypertension - (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-07/bsp-voo071916.php)
  3. Olive oil and blood pressure - (http://www.internationaloliveoil.org/estaticos/view/91-olive-oil- and-blood-pressure)
  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - (http://www.aboutoliveoil.org/using_olive_oil/cooking_uses.html#evoo)
  5. Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy- lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801)
Source: Medindia
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