There are many benefits of using extra virgin olive oil as a healthy source of fats in your daily diet. While it can encourage heart and liver health, the effects on blood pressure are equally if not more impressive. To put it simply: olive oil is one of many foods that can be used to lower blood pressure and reduce any need for hypertension medications.
In 2000, a small comprehensive study involving 23 patients with high blood pressure showed just how useful extra virgin olive oil can be.
The participants were divided into two groups—one which received olive oil and the other which received sunflower oil (a polyunsaturated fat). All were fed identical diets that were low in saturated fats. They remained on the diet for six months and then traded, those getting olive oil switched to sunflower oil and vice versa.
After six months, body weight and cholesterol levels among both groups remained constant. However, the blood pressure readings were significantly lower after the six month period for those consuming olive oil. Participants in the olive oil group were able to cut their high blood pressure medications by 50%, with eight participants going off their medications altogether. With doctors prescribing questionable medications even for those suffering from mild hypertension, it’s great news to see that simply adding olive oil into the diet could replace these unnecessary prescriptions.
Scientists surmise it’s the polyphenols in olive oil that help reduce blood pressure. They do this by protecting LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from oxidation. It’s this oxidation, or damage by free-radicals, that contributes to high blood pressure.
It’s important to note that olive oil loses much of its effectiveness when heated. For this reason, use it after cooking whenever possible. Drizzle it on a salad or combine with roasted potatoes. You can also put it on the table to serve with bread.
Also, know that olive oil may be just one piece of the puzzle. You should always manage your diet and overall lifestyle in order to lower your blood pressure. This means eliminating processed foods and getting active. Luckily, there are many foods which you can include in your daily diet that can help lower blood pressure. You could try lowering blood pressure with coconut water, potatoes, papaya, apple cider vinegar, or try various home remedies for hypertension.