antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and Lower Risk of Cardiovascular disease

The health benefits of olive oil are driven by its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory content along with an ecosystem of powerful compounds that promote health. Regardless of the type of olive oil, 75% by volume is in monounsaturated fatty acids in the form of Oleic Acid. Some of the unique polyphenol compounds include Hydroxytyrosol, Oleocanthal and Oleacein. As stated by Harvard, “According to the findings, people in the highest category of olive oil consumption (more than seven grams per day) had 19 percent lower risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality, 17 percent lower risk of cancer mortality, 29 percent lower risk of neurodegenerative mortality, and 18 percent lower risk of respiratory mortality, compared with those who never or rarely consumed olive oil.”1

Olive oil

Why is Oleic Acid important in Anti-Aging?

Dr. David Sinclair, a professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of its Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research states that “Oleic acid is a potent activator of Sirt1 (anti-aging protein) and found in olive oil and avocados (and in the blood of people who are fasting.)... Oleic Acid is 10-100x more powerful than Resveratrol in activating Sirt1”2 . Sirt1 activation is key to antiaging. As stated in Frontiers Science, Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), also known as “NAD-dependent deacetylase sirtuin-1”, is a protein that in humans is encoded by the SIRT1 gene. Sirtuins may counteract at least six hallmarks of organismal aging: neurodegeneration, chronic but ineffective inflammatory response, metabolic syndrome, DNA damage, genome instability, and cancer incidence.3

Dr. Sinclair
Olive fruits in tree

Olive oil is rich in Polyphenols

Polyphenols are nutrients in plants and plant-based foods that help your body manageinflammation and protect you from oxidative stress.

Polyphenols have two main benefits for your body: They’re antioxidants and anti-inflammatory

As an antioxidant, polyphenols help fight free radicals (unstable molecules) in your body. That’s important because a buildup of free radicals damages your cells. That damage is called oxidative stress, and it can lead to a range of health conditions, like:

Autoimmune disease
Heart disease
Aging skin

help keep inflammation response in check

A diet rich in polyphenols can also help keep your inflammation response in check. When your body sends out inflammatory cells when they’re not needed, it can lead to chronic conditions, like arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.4

Interestingly, olive oil polyphenols were proven to protect biological membranes against oxidative modification and losing structural integrity. Similarly, polyphenolic compounds decreased oxidative damage to cellular DNA.5

Olive oil in bottle

Olive Oil and Cancer & Diseases

Olive fruit
The Power of Oleocanthal in Olive Oil

Interestingly, a study showed that compounds within Olive oil had the ability to even kill cancer cells through the Oleocanthal compound. “A research team led by Hunter College has shown that certain extra-virgin olive oils kill human cancer cells with no obvious effect on normal cells, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE… Previous studies demonstrated that a component found in some olive oils—oleocanthal—has this cancer-killing power. The new study demonstrates that olive oils rich in oleocanthal are powerful enough to kill cancer cells, while oleocanthal-poor olive oils are not.”6

The Power of Oleacein in Olive Oil

This anticancer compound isn’t limited to Oleocanthal but has also been found to have effect in Oleacein, a compound found in olive oil as well. “Olive oil contains different biologically active polyphenols, among which oleacein, the most abundant secoiridoid, has recently emerged for its beneficial properties in various disease contexts… Our results indicate that oleacein, the most abundant EVOO secoiridoid, elicits significant anti-tumor activity by promoting cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.”7

The Power of Hydroxytyrosol in Olive Oil

Hydroxytyrosol is one of those miracle compounds also found in quality olive oil. Not only has it been shown to be a powerful antioxidant, but it has been correlated with disease benefits as well. “Interestingly, hydroxytyrosol prevents oxidative DNA damage in the three breast cell lines. Therefore, our data suggest that simple phenol hydroxytyrosol could contribute to a lower incidence of breast cancer in populations that consume virgin olive oil due to its antioxidant activity and its protection against oxidative DNA damage in mammary cells.”8

Health Through Anti-inflammation

Harvard University published that extra virgin olive oil can reduce inflammation, which may be one of the main reasons for its health benefits. “Olive oil's main anti-inflammatory effects are from antioxidants, one of which is oleocanthal. This antioxidant has been shown to work like ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug. In addition, the antioxidants in olive oil can reduce oxidative damage due to free radicals, believed to be one driver of cancer. Research has also shown that oleic acid, which is the main fatty acid in olive oil, can reduce levels of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP)”.9

Numerous studies point to the multifaceted health benefits of olive oil ranging from cardiovascular disease all the way to skin health. Overall, our passion for olive oil lies in the positive impact food can have to our lives.

Olive tree

1 Olive oil consumption lowers risk of premature death, study suggests

2 Yep! Oleic acid is a potent activator of Sirt1 and found in olive oil and avocados (and in theblood of people who are fasting.)

3 Sirtuins at the Service of Healthy Longevity
Watroba & Szukiewicz

4 What Do Polyphenols Do for You
?Cleveland Clinic

5 Potential Health Benefits of Olive Oil and Plant Polyphenols
Gorzynik-Debicka et al.

6 Hunter Study Shows That Certain Olive Oils Kill Cancer Cells: Hunter College

7 Juli G, Oliverio M, Bellizzi D, Gallo Cantafio ME, Grillone K, Passarino G, Colica C, Nardi M,Rossi M, Procopio A, et al. Anti-tumor Activity and Epigenetic Impact of the PolyphenolOleacein in Multiple Myeloma. Cancers. 2019; 11(7):990.

8Warleta F, Quesada CS, Campos M, Allouche Y, Beltrán G, Gaforio JJ. Hydroxytyrosol protectsagainst oxidative DNA damage in human breast cells. Nutrients. 2011 Oct;3(10):839-57. doi:10.3390/nu3100839. Epub 2011 Oct 13. PMID: 22254082; PMCID: PMC3257739.

9 Olive oil: Can it lower your risk of dying early?
Katherine D. McManus