Eating olive oil once a week reduces the tendency of blood to clot and block blood flow by reducing platelet activity in the blood, according to preliminary research. The decrease in platelet aggregation means their blood showed less propensity toward forming clots — which might help lower their risk of heart attack or stroke.
The study, presented the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2019, was done on a group of obese, but nonsmoking, non-diabetic, and healthy individuals. Implying that olive oil intake may ward off heart attack and stroke risk in such individuals.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the effects of dietary composition, olive oil specifically, on platelet function in obese patients,” Zhang said in a press release.
Sean P. Heffron, assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine and the NYU Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in New York, New York, and colleagues determined how often 63 obese, nonsmoking, non-diabetic study participants ate olive oil using food frequency surveys. The participants’ average age was 32.2 years and their average body mass index (BMI) was 44.1. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index—a measure of body weight—over 30.
Platelets are the fragments of blood cells that stick together and form clots and clumps upon their activation. They contribute to artery-clogging plaque buildup, known as atherosclerosis, the condition considered a risk factor for most strokes and heart attacks, according to Dr Heffron.
Based on the study, the researchers found that consumption of olive oil at least once in a week results in lower platelet activation than the participants who ate oil less often, and the lowest levels of platelet aggregation were observed among those who ate olive oil more frequently.
“People who are obese are at increased risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular events, even if they don’t have diabetes or other obesity-associated conditions. Our study suggests that choosing to eat olive oil may have the potential to help modify that risk, potentially lowering an obese person’s threat of having a heart attack or stroke,” Heffron said. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the effects of dietary composition, olive oil specifically, on platelet function in obese patients,” said co-author Ruina Zhang, B.S., an NYU medical student.
Some limitations of the study are that it relied on questionnaires completed by the participants; it measured how often they ate olive oil, but not how much olive oil they ate; and because it was observational the study could not prove that eating olive oil will reduce platelet activation in obese adults.
For Further Reference:
Zhang R, et al. Abstract P335. Presented at: EPI-Lifestyle 2019 Scientific Sessions; March 5-8, 2019; Houston.