Spanish researchers confirmed in a preclinical study (“Cardioprotective Effect of a Virgin Olive Oil Enriched with Bioactive Compounds in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats”; Alejandra Vazquez t al; Nutrients 2019) that olive oil polyphenols offer cardioprotective benefits. A high polyphenol extra virgin olive oil including 200 mg/kg of hydroxytyrosol, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylglycol, and oleuropein, with a total amount of 750 mg/kg of phenolic compounds in hydroxytyrosol, and oleuropein has shown these great effects.
Researhers added olive fruit extract and olive leaf extract to incorporate hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein and gave it to spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) comparing with a control virgin olive oil with a low amount of polyphenols.
The progressive anti-hypertensive effect of the enriched EVOO was observed from the fifth week of intervention, and was accompanied by a decreased cardiac hypertrophy (reflected in the lower left ventricular weight) after eight weeks of treatment.
In the study, the anti-hypertensive effect was not confirmed after treatment with control. This indicates that the effect may be related to the presence of phenolic compounds in the EVOO.
Our data show that total cholesterol was reduced in SHR after the enriched EVOO treatment, which indicates a possible hypo-cholesterolemic effect.
In conclusion, “sustained treatment with EVOO containing at least 17.6 mg/kg of phenolic compounds may decrease vasoconstrictor biomarkers and increase vasodilatory NO. In addition, enrichment with bioactive compounds (750 mg/kg of phenolic compounds, mainly hydroxytyrosol, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylglycol, and oleuropein) from the olive fruit and leaves may also lead to: (1) a reduction in hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy, (2) improved endothelial dysfunction, (3) a decreased oxidative status and (4) a reduced plasma total cholesterol levels in SHR. Therefore, the addition of an enriched EVOO to the diet may be a useful tool against high blood pressure and plasma cholesterol levels, which are two risk factors for cardiovascular diseases”.
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