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Do You Take Olive Oil for Your Blood Pressure?

Could extra virgin olive oil rich in plant phenols be a key to the benefits of the Mediterranean diet? One reader suggests we should all take olive oil.
Do You Take Olive Oil for Your Blood Pressure?
Cooking meal in a pot. Bottle of Extra virgin oil pouring in to pot for cooking meal. Healthy food concept.

Have you been looking for natural ways to lower your blood pressure? People who manage their blood pressure with medications are less likely to experience cognitive decline (JAMA, May 19, 2020). What’s more, elevated blood pressure raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2017). As a result, doctors usually prescribe antihypertensive drugs to help patients control their blood pressure. However, regular exercise and a diet rich in vegetables can be surprisingly effective as well. One reader finds it helpful to take olive oil. Should you?

Should You Take Olive Oil?

Q. A few months ago, I started taking 2 tablespoons daily of a fresh, high-polyphenol extra virgin olive oil. I buy it at a boutique olive oil store.

Of all the foods that I’ve tried for lowering my 140/90 blood pressure, this is the only one (besides beet juice) that delivered results. This morning my BP was 120/84!

The taste is tolerable. The olive oil burns the back of my throat due to the high phenol count (560 for this bottle). I think it’s well worth it.

Olive Oil Benefits Not Limited to Monounsaturated Fat:

A. People who follow a Mediterranean diet appear to have better blood pressure control and cardiovascular health (International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Sept. 23, 2019). One important feature of this dietary pattern is the dominant use of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

In addition to producing a favorable lipid profile, EVOO is rich in plant compounds known as phenols (Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Nov. 2002). Significantly, epidemiologists have found that populations consuming higher amounts of these compounds are less likely to have hypertension (European Journal of Nutrition, June 2018).

One review of the effect of olive oil on blood pressure concluded that daily consumption of 2 tablespoons of EVOO can help control blood pressure. You don’t have to take it straight, like medicine, though. It still works if you use those two tablespoons in your salad dressing or to sauté your vegetables. Thank you for sharing your success story.

Learn More:

Anyone who would like to learn more about natural ways to help control hypertension may wish to consult our eGuide to Blood Pressure Solutions.  In addition, you can learn lots more about a Mediterranean diet and how to follow that dietary pattern in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.   

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
  • Hughes D et al, "Association of blood pressure lowering with incident dementia or cognitive impairment: A systematic review and meta-analysis." JAMA, May 19, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.4249
  • Moraes-Silva IC et al, "Hypertension and exercise training: Evidence from clinical studies." Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2017. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-10-4304-8_5
  • Tuttolomondo A et al, "Metabolic and vascular effect of the Mediterranean diet." International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Sept. 23, 2019. doi: 10.3390/ijms20194716
  • Tuck KL & Hayball PJ, "Major phenolic compounds in olive oil: Metabolism and health effects." Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Nov. 2002. DOI: 10.1016/s0955-2863(02)00229-2
  • Grosso G et al, "Dietary polyphenol intake and risk of hypertension in the Polish arm of the HAPIEE study." European Journal of Nutrition, June 2018. DOI: 10.1007/s00394-017-1438-7
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