The Mediterranean diet is loaded with fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, fish, and olive oil, and has long been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, a recent study has examined the role that extra virgin olive oil, in particular, plays in this diet and has found that it may be responsible for reducing blood sugar and LDL (bad) cholesterol, both of which are markers of cardiovascular disease. The study, published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes, randomly assigned 25 healthy people to receive a Mediterranean-type meal with either added extra virgin olive oil (10 g) or no added olive oil. A month later, the participants were randomly assigned to receive another Mediterranean-type meal, this time with either added extra virgin olive oil (10 g) or added corn oil (10 g). Researchers took blood samples from the participants before and after each meal to measure blood sugar and LDL cholesterol, among other things. Here is what they found:
After both meals, participants who had eaten the meal with olive oil had lower blood sugar and lower LDL cholesterol than those who had eaten either the meal without olive oil or the meal with corn oil.
While it is important to balance the amount and types of fat in one's diet, the findings do suggest that, when paired with a healthy diet like the Mediterranean one, cooking with olive oil rather than other fats may provide cardiovascular health benefits. Previous research has also provided other reasons to stick with olive oil: It has been associated with improved blood vessel health and markers of bone health, and a reduced risk of death from any cause.
Source: Nutrition & Diabetes