Olive oil proven to improve heart health, rapeseed oil not

The health benefits of olive oil have been well documented the world over, largely characterised by the Mediterranean Diet and its emphasis on fresh vegetables with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Now, ground breaking research originating at the University of Glasgow shows that olive oil can improve heart health and moreover, has far superior health benefits than many other oils commonly consumed in the UK.

The university teamed up with other universities in Lisbon and Germany to conduct a study on the impact of regular consumption of olive oil in the diet. A team of volunteers were asked to consume 20ml of olive oil each day over a six week period. A research team carried out a urine analysis and monitored the development of peptides which are indicators of diseases including coronary artery disease (CAD), chronic kidney disease (CKD) and diabetes. Their monitoring found that the volunteers saw a big improvement in scores for CAD – the most common form of heart disease. Dr Emilie Combet of the School of Medicine at the University of Glasgow cites the presence of fatty acids in olive oil as the main contributors to the impact on improved heart health.

Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat as are many other oils. Some of these other oils are known to imitate the messages and claims associated with olive oil – Rapeseed Oil in particular which often features titles such as “Extra Virgin” and “Cold Pressed” albeit with little or no consistency amongst producers (see our earlier article about this). Now, the BBC show Trust Me I’m a Doctor has teamed up with the research group behind the olive oil study at the University of Glasgow to test the consumption of other oils commonly consumed in the UK and their impact on heart disease.

In their experiment, three groups were set up and each assigned a different task. The first was asked to consume no oil and asked to carry on life as normal. The second and third were each asked to consume 20ml of sunflower oil or rapeseed oil over a 6-week period, identical to the olive oil study. Their urine samples were also tested for peptides just as for the volunteers in the olive oil study.

The results showed that none of the three groups showed any significant improvement in heart health over the 6 week period, in complete contrast to those taking olive oil.



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