Olive oil is the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. People who consume this diet appear to have a higher life expectancy, including a lower chance of dying from cardiovascular diseases, compared with people who follow other diets. Some experts call it “the standard in preventive medicine.”
A 2018 study compared the number of cardiovascular events among people who consumed a Mediterranean diet, either with olive oil or nuts, or a low-fat diet.
People who consumed the Mediterranean diet, whether with olive oil or nuts, had a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than those on the low-fat diet.
According to the authors of one 2018 review, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority recommend consuming around 20 grams (g) or two tablespoons (tbs) of extra virgin olive oil each day to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammation.
Results of a 2017 study suggested that the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil may offer protection from cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, brain dysfunction, and cancer. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant.