A plethora of health benefits are associated with regular consumption of olive oil. This is due to
its high levels of naturally appearing antioxidants and mono-unsaturated fat.
Results of a large scale Spanish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine
this spring decisively confirms the efficacy of extra virgin olive oil in reducing heart disease.
In one of the largest controlled studies conducted to date, 7000 individuals from around Spain
between ages 55 and 80 with high risk of cardiovascular illness (but no presenting illness) were
assigned to one of three groups-
1) a non-calorie controlled Mediterranean diet with 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil per day
2) a Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts
3) a "control group" on a more standard low fat diet.
In the 4.8 years that the study was run, the first two groups had very significant 30% less presentation of illness than the low fat diet group.
While participants in this study consumed a minimum of 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day, the Food and Drug Administration has allowed the health claim that two tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.